“There once was a man who lived in Ramathaim. He was descended from the old Zuph family in the Ephraim hills. His name was Elkanah. (He was connected with the Zuphs from Ephraim through his father Jeroham, his grandfather Elihu, and his great-grandfather Tohu.) He had two wives. The first was Hannah; the second was Peninnah. Peninnah had children; Hannah did not.


Every year this man went from his hometown up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the priests of God there. When Elkanah sacrificed, he passed helpings from the sacrificial meal around to his wife Peninnah and all her children, but he always gave an especially generous helping to Hannah because he loved her so much, and because God had not given her children. But her rival wife taunted her cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that God had not given her children. This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite. 1 Samuel 1:1-7 (MSG)



Hannah found herself barren in a season of waiting, and it tormented her every day. Peninnah seemed to have everything she didn’t have. 1 Samuel 1 goes on to talk about how Hannah cried out to God in the temple, and He heard her. She bore a child, Samuel, that she consecrated to the Lord. Out of her agony and season of waiting, God was preparing the way for a prophet that would come through her that would significantly change and challenge the Israelites. Samuel’s influence is laced all through the era of king Saul and king David. Yet, every story has a backstory. What if Hannah hadn’t fought for the answer in prayer? What if she had given up on what God had placed in her heart? Instead of letting jealousy and bitterness take over her heart, Hannah pressed in and kept asking. It didn’t change overnight how she felt or the pain she was experiencing. Those emotions were real. Yet, 1 Samuel 1:19b (MSG) says, “God began making the necessary arrangements in response to what she had asked.” There was a divine power at work on Hannah’s behalf that was activated through her asking.


In our lives, there always seems to be one or two things that we are waiting for that our minds have fixated on. Comparison makes the anguish of our waiting so much worse. You have had the conversations with people where they say, “All my friends have…” Comparison can creep in so easily when other people around you are experiencing blessings. However, we can’t see all of the constraints under which they live. We are comparing an external picture of their lives to our reality. Even so, the pain of watching someone else flourish when you feel like God has not been faithful to you can be agonizing. You may be wading through heartbreak over something that has yet to be, resulting in tears that overwhelm you when no one else is there to see. There is something to be said about Hannah’s faith, expectation, and unwillingness to stop asking God. Don’t let what someone else has cause you to miss what God wants to give you. Waiting can be the hardest when we feel like God has implanted something in our hearts that has yet to be. You may be standing on the cusp of what God wants to do. It may come at a different time or in a different way. Don’t lose heart.

Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. 

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About Hona Amer

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