Monday, January 25, 2010

What God Didn't Do with Hannah

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Hannah in the book of I Samuel. For any of us who have had to endure months or even years of waiting on God, this story can be a great comfort. It seems that every time I read it I discover some new little nugget of insight that I hadn't noticed before, and it always encourages me.

My latest discovery is God's reaction to Hannah's crying out to Him for a child. Of course, I am aware of what He did--granting her plea and giving her not only the son she asked for but three more sons and two daughters as well--but this time I thought about what God didn't do.

He didn't chastise Hannah for asking for what He hadn't yet given her. He didn't offer an explanation as to why He'd not given her a child, nor did He take away that desire for all those years that it went unmet. He didn't tell Hannah that if she were good enough or do exactly what He said that He'd give her what she wanted.

This one is probably the most encouraging to me--unlike her husband, Elkanah, God didn't tell her that she should be content with having a relationship with Him and not ask for more. Sometimes I feel guilty for having desires that are going unanswered; sometimes I think that I should just be content with having a close relationship with God and not want for anything more. I have to remind myself that God created me with certain desires--good, Godly desires that I'm meant to feel. That doesn't mean that He'll always grant them, but crying out to Him in prayer in response to those desires is, I think, something He delights in and holds dear.

Anyone else have some insights into the story of Hannah that have encouraged you?

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