Children are the pride and joy of their mothers. Just listen to any group of women and you will find that their kids are always a topic of discussion. Every significant event in a child’s life is chronicled for the annals of history by his mother, whether it be through baby books, journals, pictures, or through their memories. Mothers know better than anyone how fast time can fly. Babies once held in their arms grow up and soon have babies of their own. As a result, mothers understand the need to cherish every moment and every memory they have with their children. But think what it would have been like for a mother who was unable to see her baby grow from a child to an adult. We see such a woman in the pages of Scripture. Her name was Hannah.
Hannah lived hundreds of years ago, but at a time that was very much like our own. The Bible describes those times this way: “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:18). Moses had been gone for some time, and Israel had no leader, at least no leader they could respect. The priesthood was corrupt, and God rarely spoke through the prophets. Even though the times were chaotic, children were still seen as blessings from the Lord. And although deeply loved by Elkanah, her husband, Hannah was barren. To make matters worse, Elkanah’s other wife had children to spare, and used it to provoke Hannah.
Despite the hardship, Hannah refused to become bitter. She continually and relentlessly petitioned the Lord for a child of her own. During her family’s yearly sacrifice at the temple, Hannah’s prayers became extremely fervent. “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me,…but will give your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life…”(1 Sam. 1:11). When Eli the priest heard the nature of Hannah’s request, he replied, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him” (1 Sam. 1:17). The Lord did hear Hannah’s prayer. She bore a son and named him Samuel, because, as she said, “I have asked him from the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:20). How great Hannah’s joy must have been. God had taken away her barrenness (which was viewed with reproach in the Jewish culture), and had given her the desire of her heart. She was a mother!
How time must have flown for Hannah. All too soon she would have to fulfill her vow to the Lord, and she would see her son only once a year. Yet, instead of being sorrowful and full of regret, Hannah focused on what God had given her rather than what she was giving away. How many of us would give our most treasured possession to God so willingly? Listen to her words as she presented Samuel for service in the temple: “My heart rejoices in the Lord: No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none beside You, nor is there any rock like our God” (1 Sam. 2:1a, 2)
The Lord saw Hannah’s heart and was so pleased that He gave her more children. God also chose Samuel to become a judge to rule over Israel. God never fails to bless his children for their willing acts of obedience, even those which seem small and unnoticed by others. God’s favor on Hannah proves there is no higher calling than that of mother
There is much to be learned from Hannah’s example. May each of us follow in the footsteps of this godly woman. For those such as I who have been blessed to have a godly mother like Hannah, let us thank God for her. Let us also thank our mothers for the many sacrifices they have made on our account. And for those mothers who are fervently petitioning our Heavenly Father on behalf of their children, my prayer is that the Lord who remembered Hannah will also remember you.
Happy Mother’s Day!