Hannah -Lessons Her Faith Teaches Us Today
We know her for her sorrow. She longed for a son, but couldn’t have children. We know her for her faithfulness. She never gave up hope that God would hear her prayer. We also know her for her sacrifice. She dedicated her baby Samuel to the Lord and left him at the temple to serve God “all the days of his life” (1 Samuel 1:11).
Hannah, also spelled Anna, (11th century BC), mother of Samuel, the Jewish judge. Childless as one of the two wives of Elkanah, she prayed for a son, promising to dedicate him to God. Her prayers were answered, and she brought the child Samuel to Shiloh for religious training. In the Talmud she is named as one of seven prophetesses, and her prayer is in the Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) first-day service, exemplifying successful petitions to God.
Hannah is one of the most recognisable women in Scripture for all these reasons. Many of us remember her story for her deep anguish over not being a mother. We all most likely recall her time at the temple, taking her request to God in powerful prayer. And what mum wouldn’t be impacted by Hannah’s bold move – leaving her little blessing at the temple to be raised by Eli the priest?
Hannah shows us what grace, humility, and restraint look like. She shows us deep trust in God to answer her prayers, and how to deal with those who are prideful, arrogant and foolish towards us.
Hannah’s powerful prayer life is one to emulate. She pours her heart out to God many times. Years and years of prayers were sent heavenward. She did not waver. She did not give up. I feel as if Hannah epitomises the meaning of this verse: “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
I think what I come away with most from Hannah’s journey of infertility is that she never gave up hope. She knew the character of God, who He was, and His great love and compassion. She knew He heard her cries for a child. She didn’t see the purpose in the waiting or the pain, but she trusted him to work it for His purpose. Her hope in the Lord gave her the strength to rise above her infertility struggles.
Hannah’s story has been preserved in the Bible to show us what unwavering trust and faith look like. She shows us how a spiritually mature woman reacts to adversity and pain. She gives me hope that amid emotional, physical, or spiritual pain, I can remember her story and emulate her faith, trust, and hope.
Hannah knew there was great power in prayer, there was purpose in the waiting, and there was blessing in the answer to her longings. Later in the book of Samuel, we read of how she would visit him regularly and bring him gifts, and how God honoured her and gave Hannah 5 more children.
God will never allow our pain and brokenness to have the final word. He will always give more and bless abundantly, even in the midst of our most difficult seasons. The blessings may look different than we had first imagined, but be assured, there is great depth of faith, perseverance, and character that comes from those dark seasons. And God will pour out His Spirit of mercy and grace in our times of deepest need.
Hannah’s life tell us a lot about her as a person – real, humble, passionate. We can understand her trials and rejoice in her triumphs. And just maybe, we can learn a little something about our own lives as well.
Though sometimes it’s hard to see and understand what God is doing and why the answer to our deepest longings are taking so long, we can be confident, He hears our prayers and He’s at work. His timing may seem off to us, but we don’t know all that He knows. He simply asks us to trust Him, just as Hannah did. He invites us to come to Him and bring our heart-cries, our pain, our longings, and our brokenness. He will never turn us away or have a deaf ear to our struggle. He is fully trust-worthy, fully loving, and fully kind.
Just as Hannah praised God for being a “Rock,” we too can lean fully on Him. In our ever-changing, hectic world, it may be difficult to know what, or who, we can really trust anymore. But God is secure, He’s our sure foundation, our solid Rock. We can rely on Him who never changes to hold us steady in every tumultuous time. Our God is forever faithful.
No matter what you’re facing today, hope in Him. He will never fail. And He is with you, always.