At some point we have all been pushed, tried, and tested by individuals around us that have made it their mission to cause misery and pain in one way, or many. It’s no secret. The enemy will continue to work against you through anyone, and anything he can find available to use. But often times we place so much weight on what has happened to us, instead of the response that’s expected of us. It’s very easy to be Spiritual when things are great, but how are we to respond when situations or people around us are constantly taunting us?
This is a question we have all asked ourselves.
The bible tells us a few things about Hannah. Firstly, we know that she was a God fearing woman. Secondly, that she was married to Elkanah but was unable to have children. Thirdly, we know that she eventually becomes Samuel’s mother – one the of the greatest men known in the scriptures. However, Hannah’s story does not begin with joy and laughter.
Every year, Hannah along with her husband would offer worship and sacrifice to God in Shiloh. However, Peninnah who was Elkanah’s second wife would constantly provoke Hannah to the point of tears by reminding her that she was childless. Peninnah kept making Hanna’s life miserable by having children that she could use to continually remind her (Hannah) of what she was not able to do.
So finally, one day Hannah prayed to the Lord while in great anguish. The scripture tells us that as she was praying, Eli the priest who was in the tabernacle saw her and thought she was drunk. She respectfully explained, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit” (1 Samuel 1:15). She then explained to him that she had poured out her soul to God in prayer. Now, the scripture doesn’t tell us that she told Eli the details of her prayer. All it tells us is that she prayed to God in faith and asked Him to give her a son. As we continue to read, we see God answer those prayers by giving her Samuel.
What We Should Learn About The Way We Should Respond
LESSON #1 – STAY FOCUSED ON GOD NOT ON CIRCUMSTANCES. In the verse mentioned above she says that she ridicules her enemies because of God’s salvation, or in other translations ‘deliverance’. You see, Hannah’s way of responding back to her enemies was not to flaunt Samuel around. Hannah continued to stay focused on the Lord by praising Him for answering her prayers. In other words, her response to all those who provoked her, and to her enemies was to simply give PRAISES TO GOD. By staying focused on God, she was able to see God in everything. Isn’t that amazing?! She did not go to war with anyone. But fought her battle in secret, through prayer. And when the Lord finally blessed her, her response to her enemies was by giving praises to God.
LESSON #2 – SEEK PEACE NOT REVENGE. When we have been offended our immediate response is to find ways in which we can cause the same level of pain on the person who has caused the offense. We may not physically do anything, but in our hearts we secretly wish that person would pay for what they have done. Hannah could have easily plotted against Peninnah for the misery she kept causing her. She could have easily prayed to God asking Him to close her womb. She could have killed her from the constant harassment. There are many ways that Hannah could have chosen to deal with the situation. Yet, she kept the peace between them, and took all of her matters to God instead.
LESSON #3 – BE CONSISTENT. Throughout her journey from being childless to having a child, we see one thing with Hannah –her consistency with God. In seasons of tears and seasons of joy Hannah continually came to Him. She came to God in tears when she knew she was lacking, and she came to God with praise when He fulfilled her heart’s desire. Many of us are good on the part of coming to God to be joyful, but when we are in challenging situations we prefer to take matters in to our own hands instead. The problem with doing that is that our lives begin to lack evidence of Godly influence AND discipline.
Hannah’s life illustrates that God does indeed hear and answer the prayers of those who come to Him in faith. From her life we can learn that the best response we can give to our enemies is by continually coming to God in faith, trusting that He is fighting every battle. Despite the traumas we may face God remains with us. Let us find peace and encouragement in that truth.
See you next Monday!