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The Most Cherished Gift...Hannah

Psalm 127:3

Sister Sybil Mack

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to the incredible mothers in our lives who have demonstrated incredible heroic acts of sacrifice, service, and love and deserve all of the adulation, hugs, kisses, and joy this day brings. A Mother’s love shapes cultures, individuals, and consciences, and we thank the Lord God Almighty for gifting many of us with the fruit of the womb. There is a South African proverb: "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the nation and its destiny." A mother's love is special and unique, but a mother's duty is to raise a child to follow and serve God.

Photo by Monstera from Pexels

As we celebrate our mothers on this day, we must pause and remember that some women are not blessed with the ability to conceive children. This was the case with several women in the Bible. These women were considered “barren or infertile,” a term defined as “not producing or incapable of producing offspring; childless; sterile.” In Israel and among oriental societies in general, barrenness was a woman's and a family's greatest misfortune. The highest sanctions of religion blessed the fruitful woman because children were necessary for the continuation of the people and its religion. Fruitfulness was God's special blessing to His people, as written in Deuteronomy 7:14: Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you or among your livestock.”

It is significant to note that the mothers of the Hebrew race, Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, were by nature sterile, and therefore God's special intervention shows His particular favor towards Israel. Throughout the Bible, there are many stories of strong and heroic women. The one key dynamic these biblical women exhibited was faithfulness to the one true God. With their strong faith, the women of the Bible continue to teach us how to live authentic, faith-filled lives. Their faithfulness shows us that no matter what our circumstances are, we can find ourselves in their stories.

In I Samuel we read of a young woman named Hannah. Elkanah and Hannah were married and were very much in love; however, Hannah was infertile as it is written that the Lord had closed her womb. Elkanah had another wife named Peninnah who was fertile and gave birth to several sons and daughters. However, this did not diminish the love that he felt for Hannah. Knowing that Elkanah still favored Hannah, Peninnah continued to hope that her ability to provide children for her husband would make him love her more than Hannah. This caused considerable grief for both women. One wife was barren and desired children and the other wife fertile and desired love. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3

Peninnah aggravated Hannah at Shiloh, thereby causing her distraught rival wife to pray fervently. Hannah had gone through many trials and tribulations of trying to bear a child and Peninnah’s actions only intensified the pain. Hannah was very bitter and depressed towards God and didn’t understand why this situation was happening to her. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” - Proverbs 3:5.

How could she get right with God? Hannah followed three steps to change this situation.

  1. First, Hannah kneeled in humbleness and humility and spoke to the Lord in prayer. Hannah’s prayer was filled with appeals for mercy and forgiveness. This reconnected Hannah to God as this was pure honesty from her heart.

  2. Second, Hannah persevered in prayer. Without ceasing, Hannah continued to go to the Lord. Hannah did not let anything get in the way of her blessings. God spoke through the priest Eli and informed Hannah of her blessing.

  3. Third, Hannah believed in God’s word. Hannah never gave up and continued to believe that God would grant her a child. In 1 Samuel 1:20, “So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying “Because I asked the Lord for him.” Hannah then made a vow to God saying she would give her son back to him.

These steps that Hannah enacted produced an abundance of blessings from God. Even though God initially closed her womb, through Hannah’s obedience and sincerity in prayer, He later blessed her three-fold. Sometimes, our understanding does not meet the desire of our hearts. But in the life of Hannah we see that God knows our hearts and He will provide our true needs, but in His time, not ours. God’s timing is always perfect!

So, on this Mother’s Day, remember that children are not an automatic result for a married couple or any woman. Children are blessed fruitfulness from God, and should be cherished, nurtured and loved unconditionally. They are our restoration, continuation and future livelihood for nations. Use the lesson’s from this story of Hannah to understand the importance of reinforcing our faith daily, pray constantly without ceasing, and believe that God always keeps His promises.

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