When we think of Hannah, we usually think about her dedicating her child to the services of God after being barren for many years. But little do we think of the obstacles she had to overcome before receiving God’s blessing.
The first struggle came through her husband Elkanah’s other wife Peninnah. Hannah was childless while Peninnah mothered several children. Peninnah used this situation to mock and treat Hannah very unkindly. She “provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb.” Every year when Hannah went to the house of the Lord, Peninnah would provoke Hannah, that she would weep and not eat.
The second struggle came from her husband’s inability to understand her pain. Even with Elkanah caring and making more provisions for her than he did for Peninnah and her children, it was never enough to remove her pain.
The third obstacle came when she went to the house of the Lord to worship. It was here that she poured out her heart to the Lord, wept and made a vow that if God gave her a male child, she would give him back to Him. She prayed silently with only her lips moving. The high priest at this time was Eli. When he saw Hannah’s lips move, and instead of offering her solace, he issues a stinging rebuke, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!” After clarification, Eli pronounces a blessing on her, she conceives, and soon gives birth to a son named Samuel (vv. 17–20), who becomes one of the greatest
When we experience hopeless situations in life, seasons of grief and despair, let us remember Hannah’s struggles. Despite the hopelessness of her situation, she faithfully prayed to the same God, who “closed her womb.” In the end her faith was well rewarded.