Sometimes in life things don’t go our way. Hannah’s story demonstrates to us how we can have joy when we might be disappointed.
1 Samuel 2:18-21
18 But Samuel was ministering before the Lord—a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. 20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the Lord.” Then they would go home. 21 And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.
Every now and then, I come across a person in the bible whose story deeply resonates with me. They are the people who are courageous and consumed by their regard for God and show it through their actions. Hannah is one of these people. I am struck by her strength, zeal and sacrificial nature.
Earlier in 1 Samuel, we learn Hannah sacrificially gave her son to God after longing for a child. When her prayer was finally answered, she saw the need elsewhere. In this passage, we see Hannah’s courage even more. Hannah loved Samuel and supported him as God’s servant in the ways she could. Each year she made him an ephod, a garment worn by priests, so that he would never grow out of it. She made sure that Samuel was able to minster before the Lord and do the work God desired him to do.
Her actions do not go unnoticed. Eli, a man who accused Hannah of drunkenness and immorality, now blesses Hannah and her husband. He prays the desires on her heart will be answered because he’s seen how she sacrificially gave her son to God. More importantly, Hannah is noticed by God. He saw Hannah’s faith and was gracious to her. God answered her prayers.
This passage could easily be mistaken for a prosperity gospel message. But favour with God is not an “ask and you will receive your dream” deal. Having faith does not mean everything we want will be given to us. Hannah already had a baby boy and she openly acknowledged God answered her prayers in 1:26.
Instead, what I learn through Hannah’s story is that God is all knowing. He knows the purpose of the world because he created it. He answers our prayers in many different ways, which is not always how we might expect. He demonstrates this by sending Jesus to die on the cross for us. God did not forget Hannah and he will not forget us.
Head: Has there been times in your life when God has answered your prayers in ways you didn’t expect?
Heart: How could you be more like Hannah and have joy in your heart when things don’t turn out the way you expect?
Hands: Are there ways that you could serve others during times of disappointment to demonstrate your joy for God?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for answering our prayers even if it is not in the way we might expect. We thank you that you sent Jesus to die on the cross as the ultimate answer for all our prayers. Amen.
A song to listen to: Love Changes Everything
Jackie McTaggart – Creek Road Presbyterian Church- Carina