Hannah, the Mother of Samuel

    Annaliese Raynak

    Who is Hannah in the Bible?

    Hannah appears in 1 Samuel 1-2 and her story is an example of serving God while enduring difficult circumstances. Hannah lived in Israel with her husband Elkanah and his second wife, Peninnah. While Peninnah had several children, Hannah struggled with infertility and had no children. During this time, a woman’s worth and value were tied to her ability to have children. As a result, Peninnah taunted Hannah relentlessly.

    On one trip to the Tabernacle, Hannah cried out to God to relieve her of her plight and allow her to have children. She promised that if God would give her a son, she would dedicate her child back to God for His service. God heard her cry, and she soon gave birth to her first son, Samuel. Her faithfulness throughout her trial resulted in great joy, and Samuel went on to become one of the greatest leaders and prophets of ancient Israel.

    Lessons from Hannah in the Bible

    Hannah’s name means “favor or grace”. While she might have understood the meaning of her name, we know that she felt less than favored in her circumstances. She had a loving relationship with her husband, Elkanah, but her inability to have children hindered the joy in her heart.

    Like several other mothers in the Bible, Hannah struggled with her value as a woman. Her value in society was tied to her ability to conceive, as her culture dictated that her ultimate goal in life must be to become a mother.

     

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    The cry of Hannah’s heart was to have a child of her own. Her fresh pain was only increased by the insulting words of Peninnah. Peninnah was relentless and cruel in her taunting, causing Hannah to despair to the point of being unable to eat.

    When we walk through our own trials, overwhelming circumstances and hurtful words can cause us to feel hopeless and helpless.

    It can be easy to believe that God has forgotten us when we see others around us receiving their miracle, their child, their relationship restored. We trudge through the day with a heavy ache in our souls, ever reminding us of the constant pressure of pain.

    We put on a brave face, yet we can’t seem to muffle the cries of our hearts when we see a joyful announcement on social media or quietly answer the probing questions of friends and family.

    “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him.” – 1 Samuel 1:27 (ESV)

    God's faithfulness

    Like Hannah, we cry out for God to take away our trials and redeem our value and worth. Yet perhaps even in our moments of discomfort, God is still working. Hannah returned to the Tabernacle each year with a gaping hole in her heart.

    However, she believed in the goodness of God’s faithfulness and in his ability to prevail through her pain. Her patience in her trial was rewarded through her son Samuel. Her faithfulness was passed down to the next generation and Samuel devotedly served God for many years.

     

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    Today, God calls us to find hope in him, even when we can’t see the path ahead. He gently reminds us that he is present in every trial we might ever face. He can be trusted to hold our hearts, no matter how our circumstances might come to pass.

    Our purpose is not measured by our ability to live up to the world’s standards, or even in our ability to live up to our personal goals. Our purpose is found in the eyes of the one who died in the name of love.

    Christ defined us as having great worth and value before we were even born. While Samuel’s birth came after years of patience and many tears, the redemptive miracle on the other side caused Hannah great joy.

    As we wait for our dreams to come to pass, we can trust and remember that God is faithful to give us peace and strength. Like Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2, we can look forward to rejoicing in God’s truth with the knowledge that God is with us in every situation.

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    Annaliese Raynak

    Annaliese is a storyteller whose passion and purpose is to help others connect their stories to the grand narrative God planned for all creation. Weaving a tapestry of words, she aims to highlight the ultimate source of Truth and help individuals discover their God-given value.

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