In the first part of this series, I wrote about Rahab and the dark place she was living in, and we saw how her faith in God transformed her life. In this second part of this four-part blog series, I introduce to you a woman of the bible that God has used in many ways to restore me and teach me about patience, hope, faith, forgiveness and love. Her story always fills my heart with confidence; she is truly a woman I admire. I pray in Jesus’ name that you are beyond blessed and may ever feel as loved as you indeed are by the Lord. May God always bless you!
Behind Every Great Man is a Good Woman
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
But a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honour her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Hannah is her name. She is one of the many women in the bible whose womb had been closed (1 Samuel 1:5). One of the most precious gifts a married woman can desire to be gifted with, she could not have. Yes, Hannah was infertile; she could not bear a child. She was married to a man named Elkanah, who had a second wife named Peninnah. His second wife, Peninnah, was blessed with a fertile womb, she had his children. (1 Samuel 1:2).
Elkanah, her husband, would go yearly with all his family to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. In a time where Hannah should feel the joy to go and worship freely, Peninnah would irritate and make her feel depressed because she was not able to bear children. Year after year, Peninnah would provoke Hannah for the same reason to the point where Hannah did not even want to eat anymore because she was in anguish. Not only did Hannah have to suffer the emotional abuse from Peninnah, but her husband Elkanah, though he loved her more than Peninnah, acted unwisely to Hannah’s situation. He said to Hannah, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons? (1 Samuel 1:8)”. Hearing him say, “Am I not better to you than ten sons?” knowing she was barren must have caused Hannah to feel worse. She not only was infertile, which in this time shameful, but she was also being bullied daily, and did not have the understanding and supportive words she needed to hear from her husband, Elkanah.
In this situation, we can see that Elkana made an unwise decision when he married his second wife, Peninnah. God’s original plan from the very beginning of creation was a monogamous marriage (Genesis 2:24). The law of being allowed to have a polygamous marriage was established by man and was permitted if the first wife was not able to bear children. But if Elkana would have prayed to God to heal his wife’s infertility and waited for God’s answer, as Isaac prayed for Rebekah (Genesis 25:21), he would have prevented all the pain and suffering from occurring to Hannah.
I also recognize how tough it must have been for Penninah not to be loved as much as Hannah was by their husband. After all, she had birthed him a legacy. It was Elkanah who chose to have two wives, and to show his favouritism in front of both of them (1 Samuel 1:4-5) but abusing Hannah emotionally; we can never justify those actions.
In our life, we can find ourselves in a similar situation like Hannah’s. People can make us feel inferior because of our circumstances. Year after year, the same person or people can be causing pain to our lives. They can be the reason we fall into depression. A lot of times, the people most dear to our hearts can make decisions that affect us like Hannah’s husband, who chose to marry another woman. These choices can really hurt us; they can break our hearts. Like Hannah, we can be emotionally abused by someone regularly. People’s words can torment us; people’s rejection can take away our security. What we once knew to be our haven can be destroyed by someone’s actions and words. They can take away our joy of entering the house of the Lord, just like Penninah took away Hannah’s delight when they went to worship and sacrifice.
We can also be employed by someone who mistreats us, surrounded by co-workers who provoke us, whether it is because of our faith, ethnicity, the way we dress, our language barrier, or even our job title. All these circumstances can lead us to become ill emotionally and physically. John 16:33 encourages us to be of good cheer, for the Lord has overcome the world.
Our story does not need to stay the same; God wants to and can help us through whatever situation we may be in and heal whatever scars we may have (Psalm 103:1-5.) It was not right for you to go through what you went through because of someone else’s actions and one day, they will give accounts to the Lord for what they have done. But, today, it is a new day the Lord has made, and He can make all things new! (2 Corinthians 5:17, Isaiah 43:18) Including us!
Allow me to open my heart to you. Allow me to show you how imperfect I am. If you know me, you probably know that already. For just like I’ve been on the side of suffering like Hannah, I have also acted like Penninah numerous times to those I love. Dear God! I worship you for your healing, but I also praise you more for your forgiveness! (Isaiah 1:18)
It’s been hard for me to heal from childhood memories. A lot of times, I remember just washing dishes and flashbacks from when I was a child would come to my mind, and I would start crying. It was hard to forgive my father; I was soo angry at him. I would ask myself, why did he not love us? Why did he not love my mother? Why did he leave us? Why did he choose to love someone else? During my adolescent years at church, being pushed aside hurt. People spoke wrongly of my husband while we were dating. It was tough for me to let go of being resentful towards them.
It’s hard to let go and let God in, at least for me it has been. I can not say I am like Hannah when it comes to her character, for she is truly an exceedingly virtuous woman. I am an imperfect Christian trying my best, but God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Now I am here, it took a while, but I can honestly tell you beloved child of God, that it feels good to be healed. I am still a work in progress, like our pastor’s wife says, “I am in a state of formation.” (Philippians 1:6)
All of these life struggles brought me to my knees, brought me to ask God to do what He does best. I asked Him to forgive me, to help me forgive and let go, and to heal me. He opened His arms and brought me to Hannah’s Story and told me …. “I remember you” (1 Samuel 1:11)… “Your beginning is not your end.”
Now here is Hannah’s ending…
She did not let her past determine her future. Out of sorrow and bitterness of the soul, she kneeled on her knees, not being able to handle it anymore, and cried out to the Lord, “please remember me.” “Please don’t forget me, “Please, Lord, please open my womb.” After praying, her whole demeanour changed. She was no longer Hannah, the woman who looked drunk while she prayed; she was a different Hannah (1 Samuel 1:18). She was a woman who put her trust and faith in the Lord, a woman who was not going to let her situation determine her future or even her present. She was no longer going to allow the abuse she endured to keep her from God’s purpose for her life. She chose to turn to the God that was able to open her womb. She chose life, she chose resurrection, she chose victory, she chose to trust YAHWEH! No longer did she allow mere human words to keep her in misery. NO MORE! She had risen, she found strength in her weakness. She found the arm that had not been shortened to save (Isaiah 59:1). She came to know God not only as her saviour but as Jehovah-Rophe (Exodus 15:26), her healer.
That very day, after praying, she began to eat again, her depression was gone. What happened the next day? Hannah rose up early in the morning, her joy to enter the house of the Lord had returned, and she worshipped the Lord with her family.
Hannah prayed with a purpose for a male child. If the Lord gave her a child, she was going to dedicate him to God. She was going to give him to service the Lord. Our good and merciful Lord remembered Hannah. He remembered her; He saw her pain and anguish. He was waiting like a mighty warrior to go and rescue her. He was waiting for the trumpet of her voice to sound. He was waiting for her to cry out to Him, “Come, Lord, come save me,” “come and bring me back the joy of thy salvation (Psalm 51:12)”.
Thus out of her prayer of grief and sorrow, we see one of the greatest prophets being born; we see a woman of faith arise. It was her very miracle child who anointed the first two kings in Israel. It was her very child that the Lord called by name. Hannah, the woman of the bitterness of soul, became Hannah, the woman with a noble name, a woman whose fear in the Lord is to be praised. God did what He does best; He transformed her. He opened her womb and breathed life into her.
Hannah kept her vow to God and gave her first child, her little Samuel, to service the Lord for all of his days of life. Jehovah-Jireh had provided. Not only did he provide, but He provided with abundance. Hannah, later on, had more children with Elkanah.
Now we see without Hannah there would be no Samuel, a miracle child who would go on to have a good report among the people. Indeed, “Behind every great man is a great woman,” and Behind Samuel, there was Hannah.
1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
2 There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
To be continued …
God bless you greatly,
Glenda Palma Rodas ❤
For the story of Hannah you can read 1 Samuel Chpt. 1, 2 .