1 Samuel 1: When you can't get what you most want
What happens when you have everything except what you want the most?
There was once a woman who had everything except what she wanted most. 1 Samuel 1 tells the story of a woman named Hannah who has a loving husband, Elkanah. Hannah's husband shows his affection to her by giving her a double portion of the sacrifice, visibly preferring her to his other wife, Peninnah. However, Penninah had children and Hannah did not.
In many ancient cultures like the one 1 Samuel tells us about, not bearing children meant a curse was on you. Peninnah took every chance to remind Hannah of that curse.
Hannah is deeply troubled, full of anguish and grief, so she pours out her soul to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:15-16). Eli the priest, who should be there to comfort her and bring her to the Lord, at first misunderstands. He thinks she is drunk in the house of the Lord! To his credit, when he truly listens to her he shares in her grief and prayer, interceding for her with the Lord. And the Lord hears! He grants her the deepest desire of her heart, a son.
The pain Hannah felt is still felt today. What can you do if you want children and cannot have them? In our day we pray, then when prayer doesn't work, we often turn to medical remedies or procedures. But even then there are many today who anguish over several miscarriages and still have no children. If childbirth is painful, not bearing children is painful in another way. What can be done with the pain of not bearing children?
God of love, increase our trust that you hear the deepest desires of our hearts.
DR. GARY HOLLOWAY
Gary Holloway is Executive Director of the World Convention. Holding degrees from Freed-Hardeman, Harding, The University of Texas, and Emory University, he has written or edited thirty books, including (with Douglas Foster) Renewing God’s World: A Concise Global History of the Stone-Campbell Movement from ACU Press. He is married to Deb Rogers Holloway.