So Hannah’s story stuck with me this week. Not just as a reminder that El Roi sees me, but also as an example of how I want to be. So let’s just camp out in 1 Samuel for a bit longer.
Hannah was an amazing person. She poured her heart out to God year after year, hoping for him to answer. She desired a child. Even more so, she desired for God to remember her. And her story didn’t just stop when she realized he had. That’s where it really starts to amaze.
Eli answered her, "Go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you have asked of him."
Her response? She glows. No longer was she downcast and depressed. "Think well of me—and pray for me!" she said, and went her way. Then she ate heartily, her face radiant.
And she worships God – even before she physically sees God’s answer. She praises as she waits. Up before dawn, they worshiped GOD and returned home to Ramah. Elkanah slept with Hannah his wife, and GOD began making the necessary arrangements in response to what she had asked.
Do you catch that? Her answer, though coming, is not immediate. It takes time for her to receive God’s response because he was busy making arrangements - something we don’t have eyes to see and rarely have patience for. But Hannah did. We do not hear her weep or observe her downcast again. What we do see is her recognize God’s answer by the name she gives her son. Before the year was out, Hannah had conceived and given birth to a son. She named him Samuel, explaining, "I asked GOD for him."
Then the most amazing thing happens. After crying out for him to remember her, Hannah remembers God. When Elkanah next took his family on their annual trip to Shiloh to worship GOD, offering sacrifices and keeping his vow, Hannah didn't go. She told her husband, "After the child is weaned, I'll bring him myself and present him before GOD—and that's where he'll stay, for good."
Oh! How can she bear it? This child she asked for, wept for, cried out for. This child she nursed and rocked. This child she loved. And yet, she still gives him to the Lord. And her heart is still able to praise and worship God. They first butchered the bull, then brought the child to Eli. Hannah said, "Excuse me, sir. Would you believe that I'm the very woman who was standing before you at this very spot, praying to GOD? I prayed for this child, and GOD gave me what I asked for. And now I have dedicated him to GOD. He's dedicated to GOD for life."
Then and there, they worshiped GOD.
Don’t you see? All along, Hannah desired God more than anything in her life. Deeper than even her mother’s love. Samuel was her firstborn, the child she cried for. But Hannah knew he was God’s, not hers. She knew she had promised him to God, and she must be obedient. What trust she had in her Lord. What an amazing love she held for him. And God never forgot her, her obedience, or the sacrifice she made.
Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the LORD give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the LORD.” Then they would go home. And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters.
Wow. God didn’t have to bless her with more children, but he did. He’s her Father and his love is even deeper than Hannah’s love for Samuel. Just as she never forgot her son, God never forgot Hannah.
So, what’s your Samuel? What have you cried for that God finally answered? And in that answer, how have you remembered him? It may not always be something tangible, it could simply be your thanksgiving and praise. Or maybe it’s recognizing it was by his strength and not your own that your answer came. Possibly there is something he’s called you to give - even the very thing he's given you. Whatever it is, let it go, and just like Hannah, remember him.