Did you ever want something very badly that you just could not have? Something that all your friends seemed to have and they even had the audacity to make fun of you for not having it? Then imagine finally getting it, and having to give it up. For most of us, we probably remember some toy as a child or electronic gadget as a teenager…
For Hannah, our woman of courage this week, it was so much more than that. Hannah was one of the two wives of Elkanah; Peninnah was the other. Now Peninnah had many children while Hannah had none. God had closed Hannah’s womb. Even though Hannah was barren, Elkanah loved her more. This may be why Peninnah found it amusing to make Hannah’s life miserable. Peninnah would taunt her about being barren, to the point that Hannah shed tears and was unable to eat.
One year, on their way to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the Lord, Peninnah was especially cruel. And Hannah was feeling especially down about being barren. So after the dinner she could not eat, she went to the tabernacle to pray.
I think somehow, on the way between dinner and the tabernacle, Hannah surrendered the situation to the Lord. Maybe she began to realize, “it’s not about me, it’s all about God. And if I do ever have a son, he would belong to the Lord anyway.” So through her anguish and tears, she made a vow to God that would take great courage to keep. She said, “O Lord Almighty, if you will look down upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime…” WOW, she had come to the point of being willing to give back the one thing she desired most.
We all know it is easy to make a vow, but it takes great courage and strength of character to keep one. Giving up her only long-awaited son was a hard vow to keep, but she followed through. After 3 short years, she took her son Samuel (meaning “asked of God”) back to the tabernacle and puts him in the care God and the priest Eli. As a mother of two little ones, I cannot imagine handing my 3-year old over to a stranger. What courage it took to trust and have faith that God was going to take care of her son. And he did. Samuel became one of the greatest prophets/priests/judges that Israel had ever known.
“As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said was wise and helpful. All the people of Israel from one end of the land to the other knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord.” 1Samuel 3:19-20
Is there something that you need to give up so God can do something better with it? Be courageous, be faith-filled, and be willing to trust your God.
– Kati Williams