In the vast tapestry of the Bible, we encounter a number of remarkable mothers. From Eve, the mother of all living things, to Sarah, the promised mother, to Jochabed, the sacrificial mother, to Naomi, the spiritual mother, and finally to Mary, the blessed mother of our Savior. On this joyous occasion of Mother’s Day, however, I want to draw your attention to the inspiring story of Hannah. Now, we all know the words in the Gospel of St. John chapter 3 verse 16 by heart, which tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, His firstborn. But did you know that Hannah, too, gave her firstborn son to God? It’s a tale of unwavering faith and surrender.
Who was Hannah? Her story unfolds in the book of 1 Samuel chapters 1 Samuel 1:1-28 and 1 Samuel 2:1-11. Hannah was a woman who longed for a child but faced the heart-wrenching reality of barrenness. Despite being deeply loved by her husband Elkanah, he took another wife to bear children, as was customary in those times. Although such practices are considered sinful in our present age, we must remember that the cultural norms of the past were vastly different. In many male-dominated societies, such arrangements were deemed normal.
Consequently, Hannah found herself trapped in a state of hopelessness and helplessness, tormented by the constant reminders of her childlessness. Penninah, the other wife, scorned her for years, causing Hannah profound anguish, and leaving her broken, desolate, and devoid of appetite. One fateful day, we find Hannah immersed in her sorrow, pouring out her heart to God in the temple at Shiloh. Her lips moved silently, her tears mingling with her supplications. Seeing this, Eli, the high priest, approached her in anger, assuming she was intoxicated. But Hannah, filled with humility and respect, corrected him, saying:
But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman with a despairing spirit. I have not been drinking wine or any intoxicating drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your maidservant as a wicked and worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and [bitter] provocation.”1 Samuel Chapter 1 Verses 15 & 16 (AMP)
Eli, moved by her genuine sincerity, responded with a blessing:
Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.”1 SAMUEL CHAPTER 1 VERSE 17 (AMP)
The Bible records that Hannah left with a radiant face, and she finally found solace in partaking in food, (1 Samuel 1:18). Before long, God graciously answered her prayers, blessing her with a son, Samuel, (1 Samuel 1:19-20). True to her promise, once she had weaned him, she devoted Samuel entirely to God’s service, (1 Samuel 1:24-28). In the same temple where she had poured out her soul, she fulfilled her vow. Samuel, though still a tender child, was consecrated to God in response to Hannah’s fervent prayers. She faithfully honored God and remained true to her word, knowing that a promise requires sacrifice.
Little did she realize that God would honor her sacrifice abundantly, blessing her with many more children, (1 Samuel 2:21) and appointing Samuel as one of the greatest prophets of his time, (Acts 3:24). What lessons can we glean from Hannah’s story?
1. Hannah Wept
Hannah poured out her heart to God, unashamedly shedding tears of despair, (1 Samuel 1:10). When was the last time we allowed ourselves to cry out to God in utter desperation? Do we maintain such an intimate connection with Him? Through her tears, Hannah made a vow to God, (1 Samuel 1:11). Where do you find yourself today in your relationship with God? Are you honest and transparent before Him, or do you wear a façade? Someone said that our prayers to God often lack depth, resembling superficial expressions like, “…O God, our Heavenly Father, God our loving Father, I come to you this day…”
What if I were to approach my husband, Dave, and say, “Oh Dave, my dearest husband, how can I be of service to you today? It’s wonderful to be here beside you!” Sometimes, our prayers to God sound just like that. Instead, we ought to emulate Hannah and many others in the Bible, such as King David, who prayed with brutal honesty and vulnerability, earning him the title of a man after God’s own heart, (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). Consider Psalm 109, where David fearlessly pours out his soul before God. Did God rebuke him for such prayers? No. On the contrary, as David laid his raw emotions at God’s feet, the Holy Spirit began to work within him, transforming his heart.
When we struggle to approach God with sincerity, we may deceive ourselves, but we cannot deceive Him. One of the reasons why we may hold back from God is because we fear being vulnerable. We may be ashamed of our weaknesses and shortcomings, and feel like we need to present a perfect image to God. However, this is not necessary. God knows our thoughts and feelings intimately, and He loves us unconditionally. By withholding our true selves from Him, we miss out on the blessings of a transformed heart. When we open ourselves up to God and share our true selves with Him, we allow Him to work in us and transform us from the inside out.
2. Hannah Believed
Hannah’s face radiated with faith, and she ate, (1 Samuel 1:18). When Hannah heard Eli’s response, she instantaneously embraced his words and displayed her faith by taking action. She engaged in the significant act of eating, which had been previously impossible and undesirable for her. It was her unwavering belief, her authenticity before God, and her willingness to lay down her burdens that opened the floodgates of divine favor. Hannah did not place her trust in man; instead, she kept her heart steadfastly focused on God.
She wholeheartedly believed in the promise bestowed upon her: “…Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.”” (AMP) And so, with that assurance, she departed. How often do we approach God in prayer and request intercession, only to leave the same way we arrived, burdened and unchanged? This occurs either because we have not fully surrendered or because we lack genuine faith. Our faces, like Hannah’s, should radiate with the joy of surrender. We must take that step of faith, just as Hannah did, and move forward without allowing past hurts, worries, or pain to engulf us.
Let us not only cling to our blessings as our primary focus and priority, but also recognize the Source of those blessings, and seek to deepen our relationship with Him. We can do this by spending time in prayer, reading the Bible, and seeking to understand His will for our lives. In addition, we can also use our blessings to bless others, by being generous with our time, resources, and talents, and sharing the love of God with those around us. By doing so, we can not only grow in our own faith but also be a light in the world and make a positive impact on those around us.
3. Hannah was Faithful.
She wholeheartedly dedicated Samuel to God’s service, as she had vowed, (1 Samuel 1:24-28). She relinquished her right to raise her child and prioritized her commitment to the One who had faithfully kept His word. God hears a mother’s cry, and it is never too late to honor your promises to Him. To all the mothers among us, how difficult would it be to release your child, surrendering them completely to God’s will? Are you willing to lay aside your personal desires, ambitions, and dreams for the sake of God’s greater purpose?
Hannah’s commitment yielded immeasurable blessings. She went on to have three more sons and two daughters, undoubtedly experiencing the joy of God’s faithfulness. My dear friends, our willingness to sacrifice in obedience to God has far-reaching implications. When we release our loved ones into His capable hands, we allow Him to work miracles in their lives and fulfill His divine plans.
Let us aspire to be mothers like Hannah. Let us approach God with honesty and transparency, pouring out our hearts without pretense. Let us believe with unwavering faith, displaying radiant faces that reflect our trust in Him. And let us keep our promises, dedicating ourselves and our loved ones wholeheartedly to God’s service. Remember, dear mothers, your role is sacred and influential, not only in the lives of your children but also in the kingdom of God.
May your journey be marked by tears transformed into joy, despair turned into hope, and sacrifice yielding blessings beyond measure. In the words of the prophet Isaiah in chapter 54, verse 23:
“Enlarge the site of your tent [to make room for more children]; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, do not spare them; Lengthen your tent ropes And make your pegs (stakes) firm [in the ground]. “For you will spread out to the right and to the left; And your descendants will take possession of nations And will inhabit deserted cities.” (AMP)
Embrace your divine calling, dear mothers, and let the world witness the extraordinary love and faithfulness of our God through you.
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