Many times some problems and afflictions linger for years, as was the case of Hannah’s barrenness. Year after year she went to worship and sacrifice unto the LORD of Hosts in Shiloh. She prayed and worshipped but her problem persisted, and her rival and adversary, Peninnah “also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.” (1 Samuel 1:6 KJV). Year by year she went up to the House of the LORD, but this didn’t prevent her adversary from provoking her; she did it even the more.
Until a day came when Hannah came to herself and refused to be contented with her situation of barrenness: “therefore she wept, and did not eat. Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? And why eatest thou not? And why is thy heart grieved? Am not I better to thee than ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:7-8 KJV).
Further, Hannah refused to be comforted, and to eat and drink whilst the problem of barrenness glares before her. She became zealous in spirit for a change of situation. Several times the world around you might comfort you and cheer you up, as you remain in your misery and sorrowful condition. The people around you may, even, desire to have you acclimatized to that affliction. Until you rise up and say, “No! Enough is enough”, you may remain in that state for years, and be a worshipper of God as she was, and even carry it to the grave.
In fervour, Hannah said “No” to the cheers of food and other pleasures, and sought the LORD zealously in prayer, but this time she added a potent display of zeal, which is FAST. She fasted to demonstrate her zeal concerning the subject of her prayer. She waited in the House of the LORD, after the family had made merry and left, and prayed her heart out before God.
She prayed a different prayer this time round. She had been praying for a child but God wasn’t moved by those requests she made. Therefore, she changed her approach this time. She prayed, seeking God’s interest in the matter at hand. Hannah “was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.” (1 Samuel 1:10-11 KJV).
She sought to consecrate the answer to her afflictions to God. Therefore, God had to hear her this time round. It was God who had imposed this condition upon her, but He had to remove this affliction because His interest was at stake. Eli had desecrated His house by tolerating the evils of his children, and so God desperately needed a replacement. Hannah thought about the interest of God, and that became the subject of her petition, and she won this time.
The Priest of the time, Eli, said unto her, “Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.” (1 Samuel 1:17 KJV). Upon hearing these words of affirmation, she went her way and broke her fast, “and her countenance was no more sad” (vrs. 18). Hannah, now, demonstrated faith in God by works. She believed that God had heard her and was never sad again. The Apostle James wrote: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17 KJV). Hannah knew this truth and acted appropriately before God. She was an action woman.
It came to pass, when the time was up for their yearly sacrifice, that she had a son and called his name Samuel. After weaning her son, she was faithful to her vow. She took the child, Samuel, to the House of the LORD to serve Him all the days of his life. Therefore, God gave her six more children (1 Samuel 2:5); so that she bore seven children in all.
From this Biblical Character, we learn about fervency in prayer and the effective presentation of petitions to God. We learn how to effectively present matters to the Almighty in a way that would warrant His utmost attention. Hannah learnt these lessons the hard way. It was after she became zealous and sought the interest of God by factoring Him into the equation of her sorrowful situation that she found the answer to her woes. Let’s apply these principles to change those difficult circumstances and afflictions that have lingered for years in our lives.
Stay Blessed, Beloved of God!