Opening my Bible to 1 Samuel chapter 1, I got to reading about Hannah and Elkanah. If you haven’t read their story lately, I encourage you to dig into it and let the words sink gently into your soul. I absolutely adore the love between these two.
Elkanah had two wives, which was common in those days, one was Peninnah and the other was Hannah. We’re told in verse five that Elkanah loved Hannah, and reading through the story, we get the idea that there was a strong bond between the two.
But there was a problem. Verse five tells us that, “the Lord had shut up her [Hannah’s] womb.”
An important thing to remember here is that bearing children was of utmost importance in their society. A woman who couldn’t bear children would have been considered a failure to many. She couldn’t provide her husband with the blessings that other wives could.
Each year Elkanah took both of his wives to Shiloh where they would present a sacrifice to God. And each year, Peninnah provoked Hannah reminding her of the fact that she was barren.
Broken hearted, Hannah wept to the point where she couldn’t eat.
Elkanah was empathetic because he cared for her deeply. I love what he says here, “Why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? Am not I better to thee than ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8)
Hannah rose after dinner, took a seat by a post at the temple, and poured her heart out to God.
This was her prayer,
And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. – 1 Samuel 1:11
Like Hannah, we all struggle in this life. If its not one thing, it’s another.
I’m heartbroken when I consider the struggles that some of you face.
I long to have children…
I desperately want a strong marriage…
I miss having a relationship with my parents…
I wish we weren’t struggling financially…
I wish my husband was here…
If only our health was better…
I want my husband and I to be closer…
If only I hadn’t been unfaithful…
I wish we had better jobs…
I’m struggling with addiction…
Each and every one of these desires should bring us down to our knees in prayer. And any one of these things can put a serious strain on a marriage. They can bring heartache and pain unlike anything we’ve ever imagined.
I know what it’s like to feel pain. I lost five children to miscarriage. One I carried for five months and since he wouldn’t leave on his own, my womb was the coffin that carried his body for days before the doctors took him away. I wondered if I’d ever be able to have children again after losing so many. Like some of you, I had fears. I had insecurities. I had pain.
I know what it’s like to feel darkness. I suffered a deep bout of depression that lasted almost a year after the fifth miscarriage where all I wanted to do was curl up in a closet and stay there. And for years after I battled to stabilize it.
The question was and always will be, Are we ready and willing to hand it over to God? Are we ready to move forward in hope, according to His will, perfect timing and wisdom?
I like a great love story. And this one between Elkanah and Hannah is beautiful, but the love story between Hannah and God is a greater one yet. She was willing to give the one thing that she desired most in this world back to God.
“If you give me a child, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life,” she said.
What can we learn from her? What can we learn from other scriptures?
We see in 1 Timothy 6:6 that contentment is important, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
But we also know that the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing and to bring our requests before God.
Be careful [worried] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. – Philippians 4:6
Hannah made her request known unto God with fervent prayer. And God answered that prayer by not only blessing them with a son (Samuel), but with other children as well.
What we can learn from Hannah is the importance of dedication. She dedicated her son to God for a sacred purpose trusting Him with this most important area of her life.
Will you dedicate your marriage to God? Are you ready to hand it over to God for a sacred purpose? In its entirety?
We must be willing to say, “God this is my hearts desire, but even this–the longing of my soul–belongs to You Lord. Do unto us according to Your will.”
If you’re following along with my book, Messy Beautiful Love, let’s dig into chapter three.
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You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife
For daily marriage prayers visit: http://www.marriageprayers.today