Hannah stepped into the kitchen, dimly lit by the oil lamp. She gazed through the window across the mountains. The violet and mauve colors melting together behind the new day’s mist began rising in the eastern sky bringing the promise of brightness as the sun would soon greet the day. Hannah looked to the skies each morning, giving thanks for its beauty. Regardless of the veil of grief she wore, the skies were filled with glory sustaining the hope she carried that soon she would be carrying a child.
Peninnah stumbled into the room. “I must be with child again! The sweet smell of the burning oil in that lamp is nauseating. I guess you wouldn’t understand that, dealing with your curse. Even with the difficulties that accompany being with child, it’s still such a marvelous blessing. To feel the movement of life within. And to think how many times I have experienced this joy.”
Hannah’s heart contracted to hear the taunting words. Tears stung her eyes, begging to be set free from the prison of hurt that held them.
For days Hannah had been dreading their annual trek to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the Lord. Peninnah hardly waited to start her ridicule. “It is beyond me why you continue this journey to Shiloh to whine and wail to the Lord. Do you really believe he will lift the awful curse? Surely you know by now that God doesn’t love you. How many years now have you continued your wailing? You know, you aren’t getting any younger. Surely, God is withholding the blessing of children from you because of some great sin in your life.”
Hannah’s distress, because of her bareness, was exacerbated by her rival’s continued mocking and later by the accusation of Eli. Pininnah’s mocking brought such suffering to Hannah that she was unable to eat. Through the years she continued to hope for that day when the Lord would answer her prayer for a son, and remained faithful in those prayers. And she waited. Through her time of “waiting” she was lead to surrender to the Lord in desperate prayer. Hannah left her place of prayer rejoicing, even before the realization of her desire.
We are reminded in Hannah’s story how the Lord sees and hears those hurt. Just as He valued Hannah and helped her through the mistreatment she endured, He knows our deepest pain and greatest desires.
Many times in our lives the things we want or even the promises may not come to pass in the time or way we think they should and it is easy to become discouraged. We must wait patiently for the blessings that will come in the Lord’s time.
“Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14)