**And her adversary also provoked her sore…** 1 Samuel 1:6
All of us have faced loss. We say goodbye to a loved one, we face financial ruin, we lose a job, we lose a friend. Loss comes in many forms and in many degrees.
During loss, we go through many emotions. 1 Samuel tells us that Hannah hadn’t technically lost something but that she never had the chance to have it in the first place. She lived in pain and loss everyday for what she couldn’t do–have a child to call her own. To make matters worse, her ‘sister wife’ reminded her of her loss everyday, openly, cruelly, mercilessly. And it got to her…** for to make her fret ** the Bible tells us.
Fretting here means that Hannah was irritated by the hounding, making her mad. Making her want to fight back. The Bible doesn’t say that she did. But her ‘sister’s’ provoking did get under her skin. She would get irritated, and apparently told her husband about it. And we all know that Elkanah was no help in this situation.
Hannah was stuck. She was hurting. It was making her mad and frustrated. And, surely, she was brokenhearted that the Lord was not giving her a child that she so desired.
Like Hannah, we have all been in that place. The place where we just can’t figure out what is happening, or why the Lord is allowing it. We question His decisions. We fail to see His perspective. We try to reason it out and look for some comforting reason why we are facing our loss. And we get lost in our emotions.
Over time we learn to accept the Lord’s sovereignty. We know He has a bigger plan than we can see. But it still hurts. And if we could decide how it would all work out, we would choose to not lose what we have lost. We would choose ease and comfort and happiness and we would walk away from pain and heartache and hardship. Every one of us. We prefer to live in Oz, not in ‘Kansas’.
But pain and loss are part of the package when we choose to live and when we choose to live for God. The deepest lessons are not learned on the happiest of days, nor in our seasons of comfort and rest. If we really want to know the Lord and get close to His heart, we have to be willing to walk the dark tunnels of loss.
This way of suffering means that we will walk where Jesus walked, feel what He felt, cry the tears that He shed, and perhaps be cast out and rejected similar to how He was, and lose what He lost. We will feel a little of His pain.
The good news is that Hannah found a way out of her pain. ** And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. ** v 10 She put it in the Lord’s hands and committed herself and her hoped for child to Him. She put her heartache on the altar of faith and trusted Him to do what He knew was best. She renewed her commitment to trust Him with her greatest loss, her inability to have a child and to be a Mom.
When her prayers were answered and the Lord gave her that desired child, she gave him right back to Him. Because though the pain of being childless was great, her honor before the Lord meant more to her than being with her son every hour of every day for the rest of his life.
Whatever loss we face, we can put it in the Lord’s hands and He will make it right. Maybe not today. Maybe not in our lifetime. But He will always make it right. He will soften the pain little by little in our here and now, and He will fill us with hope for our tomorrow.
The Lord knew what He was doing when He withheld a child from Hannah. He was preparing her to raise a man that would dedicate his life to serving Him. A man that put the Lord first, just like his Mom did. Samuel was a leader and a man committed to serve and obey God like few others ever have.
In our loss, we can have that same assurance that His plan is perfect and His reasons are pure and good. Even if it still hurts.
Our job is to take our pain to Him and then trust that the way He comforts us is enough. And that His plan for us is the best plan. Much better than our own. Then we just need to take the next step. Whatever that is. Even if it is just simply getting out of bed and facing today. But today can be a day of faith and hope. A day to watch for the miracles that He is doing and not dwell on those that He isn’t. We can trust Him to get it right. Every time.