Take a listen as Jason B. Rosenthal shares his experience after losing his wife of 26 years to ovarian cancer in this TED talk entitled: The Journey Through Loss and Grief. Tissues will be required but his life lessons will touch you.
And then, before we chicken out, let’s encourage each other to have those difficult talks, the ones where we discuss death even when we’re alive … because they are truly important.
Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
1 Samuel 1:17-18 (NIV)
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The story of Hannah, first wife of Elkanah, is found in 1 Samuel 1. Before reading further, get your bible out and visit a bit with Hannah or if preferred, you can click on this link and sit with her online: story of Hannah.
Hannah was an amazing woman who had lots (and I mean lots) going on in her life. Let’s analyse 1 Samuel 1:1-20 to get a better picture.
- He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Hannah was one of TWO wives. This meant that even though she didn’t have an ‘outside woman’ situation she certainly had an ‘inside woman’ problem.
- Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none. And Hannah really really, like really, wanted to have children.
- Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. We women can be cruel to each other sometimes; deliberately so, especially when we are familiar with a personal circumstance. Why again exactly? And why keep digging it in year after year after year? Does provocation for a positive family life make? Absolutely not.
- Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” Elkanah loved Hannah but he just didn’t understand what she was going through aka sometimes men mean well but they just don’t get it all of the time.
- As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. When the going gets tough the tough get going. However that does not mean we pick up the phone and bemoan our situation with all of our girlfriends. No, no, no. We can be going through the biggest trial ever and praying fervently in our hearts without anyone else learning about our situation through any actual dialogue. Yet God knows what is in our hearts; He will hear us.
- Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.” I personally didn’t follow this line of thought because I talk to myself and to God out loud – like constantly – but I am not drunk. Why did Eli assume Hannah was drunk? Was it a cultural thing? Hmmm ….
- “Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” Anguish and grief. Two of the biggest things to lay on anyone’s heart, far less a woman who has no children, is being taunted day in and day out by another woman in her very own household (and who should honestly know better) but yet her loving husband does nothing to resolve the conflict.
- Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” This was all Hannah needed to hear from the man of God. There was now hope in spite of a seemingly hopeless situation. It had been proclaimed.
- She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. Hannah had prayed and gotten reassurance that God had not forgotten her. What does she do next? She moves on and lets God do what He needs to do. In other words, He’s got this!
- Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” Let the people say amen … and take that Peninnah!
I love a story with a happy fulfilling ending and my key nuggets from these verses may not be the same as yours but where am I right now? I am praying like Hannah to my Father; my lips are definitely moving fervently and my heart is anguished (no grief here though) yet I am holding on to these three thoughts:
- God will grant me what I ask of Him (if it be His will of course)
- I will be peaceful while I wait and not be anxious or disagreeable or whiny
- The Lord WILL remember me
If you are like Hannah, I will be praying for you even as you pray for me. May the God of heaven and earth grant you what you have asked of Him, and may He always dwell peacefully in the depths of your heart. Have a great week.
When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.
1 Samuel 1:2-28 (NIV)
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