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Hannah and Peninnah Part 2

1 Samuel 1 (This is the scripture from the previous lesson.)

1 Samuel 2:1-11

1 Samuel 2:18-21

There is so much to glean from Hannah’s story. Because of my experience, I can appreciate the pain her barrenness caused her. From a very young age, I had a strong desire to be a mother. When the time seemed right for my husband and me to start our family, I was shocked when it didn’t happen as easily as I thought I would. Each month brought new hope, then bitter disappointment. Watching my friends experience the joy of motherhood, was bittersweet. I was sincerely happy for them, but jealous too. The years that we waited for our dreams of parenthood to be fulfilled, were extremely emotional.

Hannah got to the point where she was so distraught, she couldn’t even eat. In her anguish, she went to the Lord, poured out her soul and made a promise that if God were to bless her with a son, she would give him back to the Lord for his entire lifetime. God grants her prayer and she keeps her promise. This part of the story breaks my heart. I can’t imagine how hard it was for her, after finally receiving the beautiful baby boy she had been longing for all those years, to leave him to serve the Lord. I’m dreading letting go of my children at age 18, I can’t imagine leaving a toddler. Her prayer of praise as she dedicates Samuel’s life to God and prepares to leave him shows the state of her mind and heart. What an amazing act of faith, obedience, trust and honoring one’s promise. Hannah recognized that all of our gifts, even our children, are on loan from God. This concept can be very hard to digest and put into practice, especially when we are talking about our babies. We see that Samuel grew up as the Lord’s helper, an apprentice priest under Eli. He went on to be Israel’s greatest judge. Hannah visited him each year and brought a new little tunic she had made for him. (I get misty-eyed reading about this sweet act.) As painful as it was for her to give him up, I can only imagine how much pride and joy she felt as she saw him grow, mature and serve the Lord.

Hannah was rewarded for keeping her promise to God. This woman who spent all of those years in a state of barrenness, was blessed with 3 more sons and two daughters at an age people would have believed was too late to conceive. God’s timing often doesn’t align with ours, but His plan is better than ours. I look at my son and my daughter and feel so blessed. Those hard years of infertility make me appreciate these wonderful children that were meant to be ours, on loan from God, in His perfect timing.

1. Have you had a dream that you gave up on, only to have God fulfill it in His perfect timing? How did that process affect your faith, both during the disappointing period and when your hopes were eventually fulfilled?

2. Have you ever made a promise to God you wished you could take back?

3. Do you struggle with the concept that all of our blessings, including our children, are on loan to us but ultimately belong to God?

4. What are the things in your life you have the hardest time letting go of?

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