When my wife and I first married, we wanted children. We prayed for six years with no answer. Then, one day, without being prompted, an elder in our church asked my wife if she wanted children. She replied that she did. The elders prayed over her, and she was pregnant within two months. When our daughter arrived, we sent out a birth announcement with 1 Samuel 1:27 inscribed. God had heard our prayers.
Hannah, the mother of Samuel, never gave up her desire for a child. She had a situation like my wife and me, but more complicated. Hannah was barren, but Elkanah, her husband, had another wife, Peninnah, who wasn’t.
Peninnah often taunted Hannah. Elkanah was somewhat egotistical and clueless about Hannah’s feelings. Hannah also had a spiritual leader, Eli, who judged her falsely. Hannah may have had every reason to believe God had forsaken her.
Hannah’s first response to her circumstances entailed weeping. As Christians, we often try to live in a spiritualized fantasy land, believing we should not experience grief or sorrow. Hannah did something critical with her weeping: she prayed. She never forgot God was still good. Often, when we weep, we stop praying. But if we stop praying, our weeping will never cease.
Hannah told the Lord that if He gave her a son, he would be the Lord’s, not hers. Eventually, Hannah bore three sons and two daughters. Whatever we hold, we lose, but what we give to the Lord, we keep. We can never outgive God.
Hannah’s desire was a part of God’s plan for Samuel to become the great prophet of Israel. Samuel means “God has heard,” which He certainly did with Hannah’s prayer.
How can you make sure your desire is God’s dream for you?
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