He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children and Hannah had none. -1 Samuel 1:2
Have you ever made a promise to God out of desperation?
Hannah was the fourth woman in biblical history to experience heartache through infertility. Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel faced the same heartache. But Hannah accepted God’s promise for a child with a faithful heart while the others responded with laughter (Genesis 18:12 NIV), a question (Genesis 25:22 NKJV) , and blame (Genesis 30:1 NIV).
Hannah’s greatest wish was to be a mother. And day after day, year after year she was reminded that she had none.
Children were very important to a husband’s social standing in the community. They helped with the daily chores around the home and it was their duty to care for their parents in old age.
Under the law, Hannah’s husband, Elkanah had the choice to divorce her because of her inability to provide him with children. It was the custom for the wife to provide a maid servant to her husband in the hopes she would bear children for her.
Elkanah didn’t understand the tension between his two wives. He loved Hannah deeply and Peninnah was a means of having children. He did his best to comfort and encourage his wife but it was not enough. She desired much more.
Hannah was taunted by Peninnah. She knew her husband loved Hannah but she was the one with children and she used that to her advantage. Peninnah’s words were harmful and had a great impact on Hannah. She struggled with low self-esteem and felt like a failure as a woman for not being able to produce a son.
Was Elkanah unaware of the actions of Peninnah? Maybe he didn’t know what she was doing. He had to know something was not right because he asks, “Why are you crying? Why are you not eating? You have me. Isn’t that enough (1 Samuel 1:8)?
Imagine being so humiliated that you reach the point of not being able to eat. Hannah reached this point and did the only thing she knew to do- pray. Hannah was in such pain that she poured her out to the Lord ( 1 Samuel 1:10). Eli, the priest blessed her (1 Samuel 1:17) and she left the Tabernacle able to eat again and no longer sad.
Do you know someone who is struggling with God’s timing in answering prayers?
Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
Waiting is never easy. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever had to do. So what do you do while waiting? For me, I continue to trust God and surround myself with positive people- people who will encourage you, inspire you and believe in you.
Are the people in your life positive or negative?