Hannah was one of two wives of Elkanah, and though she was unable to give him children while his other wife, Peninnah, was, he still loved her and treated her very well. But still, she was barren and grieving. She wanted so desperately to give Elkanah sons. Because of this Scripture says, “In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.” (1 Sa 1:10) She prayed that God grant her the gift of a son, and in return she would give him back to the Lord always as a priest. God blessed her and she conceived Samuel. When the time came, Hannah said, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him [to the priest Eli] and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.” (v.22) She kept her word and brought Samuel to Eli, saying, “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.” (vv.27,28)
“In bitterness” Hannah prayed for a son, and she promised to dedicate him to the Lord where he would remain all his days. That takes great faith. When all had been said and done, she rejoiced in the Lord, praising Him for answering her prayer. Chapter 2 starts with her prayer to the Lord, and just that one section in itself shows so much about God. In it she basically says that God has the power to build up and tear down, to give and take away. It is HIS world, and He can do with it as He sees fit. If you’re proud He humbles you, if you’re humble He lifts you up. If you rely on your own strength He knocks you down, and if you’re weak He strengthens you. “The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.” (vv. 6,7) We are powerless without Him. If He controls opposites, what then can we do? Absolutely nothing. We are His creation. He formed us from the dust, and to dust we will one day return. In between those times we need to realize that we cannot do anything without Him, no matter how strong we may think we are. Those who have he can take away, and those who have not he can give. It’s all at His discretion. If we don’t rely on Him, if we push Him to the side or deny Him, then we truly will be without no matter how much we think we have now.
Who gave you that job you have now, the one that’s providing for your family? Who gave you the open door to head to school to “better yourself?” Who really puts food on your table? Who put those people in your lives to help shape your life? Who sets into motion everything in this world to get you to where you are today, and to where He wants you to be? There is only One who does that. At times we may blame Him for the challenges that have been put in our lives, but then boast of ourselves when good comes. Other times we may realize that all the good we have in our lives is from Him, but if we get knocked down we get down on ourselves. God gives and takes away. Builds up and tears down. It’s as simple as that. He has a plan for each and every one of our lives, and what He gives us He uses for the greater good. We just need to rely on that. No, he does not give us things that truly hurt us, but He’ll use it for something better.
Did He give my son cancer? No, but I know He’ll use that for good. My son was too afraid to be “brave like the fire fighters” (one thing he’s wanted to be) the first three weeks of his diagnosis, but now that he’s survived it he still wants to be a fire fighter when he grows up. He said the other day, “When I grow up I want to be ‘courageous.’” If you’ve ever seen the movie Courageous, you know what I’m talking about (yes, it’s about police…another avenue he might explore). I just see amazing things for him. He has also, at the age of seven, asked Jesus into his heart.
God can and will do anything. We have to see that, and admit that we have no power. All we can do is submit our lives to Him and let Him control it. We’ll go through hardships, fear, pain, but we’ll come through it, and it will all be used to shape us into who He wants us to be; His original creation. He will also give us great joy, peace and love.
I pray that we all acknowledge and remember that God is in control, and without Him there is nothing we can do. In one instance He can build us up, but in another He can easily knock us back down. May we remember that He loves us and will not hurt us. We need to look to Him for all our need; bring all our joy, love, pain, and fear to Him.