Tracie Miles in Chapter 5 of #StresslessLiving shares how to take back your life. She shares the story of Hannah. God seemed absent from Hannah’s life but as we explore this story we find God’s presence. She faces stress of infertility, a blended family, bullying, and yes a crisis of faith. The story is found in 1 Samuel 1.
Elkanah was an influential man and he wanted children, sons to continue his family name. That is not much different in our day and age. Elkanah had two wives, the scripture doesn’t reveal who was his first wife. Please imagine the strife and stress that existed in the family, perhaps Hannah was the first wife but she was barren. Jealousy a wicked emotion developed within Peninnah; because the scripture says Elkanah loved Hannah in a very special way.
Hannah compared herself to Peninnah. She had children, sons and daughters, her quiver was full, Hannah’s empty. Stress, being barren, is stressful. Peninnah is ruthless, she is aware of the stigma Hannah suffered, shame and pain. Scripture says she would tease and torment Hannah. Hannah suffered month after month, year after year. Hannah was more and more distraught, no longer depressed but oppressed. She was thin not eating, she was beside herself. Her husband loved her, he even pleads with her, “Why are you crying and not eating? Why are you sad? Am I better to you than ten sons?
Three times a year there went be a trip to the temple to make sacrifices. On this particular trip, Hannah is in the temple alone, she is grieving offering her prayers to God, the one who can end her plight. What is different this year? Perhaps she is at the end of her rope. Hannah says in verse 11, “Lord you are the most powerful Lord, see how sad I am. I am your servant, remember me, if you give me a son, I will give him back to you.” Desperate, tearful Hannah is speaking to the Lord but not in a selfish way, her lips are moving but words can’t be heard.
It reminds me of Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
The scriptures in 1 Samuel 1: 14-18, the priest Eli mistakes her actions and accuses her of being drunk. She explains to the priest she is not drunk that she made a vow that if God would give her a child she would give the child back to God. Eli the priest convince that she is a good woman. So Eli the priest spoke to God on her behalf. Hannah had peace that God would give her the desire of her heart.
Beloved, what are the desires of your heart? How are you like Hannah? How long have you been waiting for God to answer your prayer? Do you suffer with infertility? Do you suffer with chronic pain? Perhaps, you are in a blended family and you suffer ridicule from the ex-wife or children from the previous marriage, how do you respond when there is strife and stress?
After her trip to the temple, God hears Hannah’s prayer. Tracie Miles asks in Chapter 5 of Stress-Less Living, what ways can Hannah’s trust and devotion to God be a motivation for you to reach out to God with your most difficult problems or deepest unmet desires?
Hannah bore Samuel and after weaning him she took him to the temple and dedicated him to the Lord. Just as God answered Hannah, He hears your prayers and desires to ease your stress. Beloved, will you trust God today?
Father God, you are awesome. There are many women who are hurting this season who are waiting for an answer to prayers. For the woman who is in emotional and physical pain, God is there. Where there is despair, God is near. Where there is hopelessness, there is hope. Where there is stress, there is peace.
Will you like Hannah let go and let God have your concerns? Will you give your desires to God? Will you trust God with your plans and claim Jeremiah 29:11?