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Hannah's Heartache

By Dena Dyer - "Then she left, and after eating something, she felt much better" (I Sam. 1:18).

The young woman took a deep breath. The bread in front of her looked like stone.

"Hannah, you haven't eaten in days," her husband Elkanah said gently. "You need nourishment."

Her rival shot her a menacing look. "Maybe that's why she's barren. She's too skinny."

"Hush, Pen," Elk said. "Leave her alone."

Peninnah glared at Hannah. "Sure, I'll leave her alone. Just like the Lord has."

Hannah stifled a sob and pushed away from the table. She ran out the door and into the place of worship, falling on her knees at the altar.

"Oh, Lord God," she cried. "You know I'm Your servant, but I am so miserable! Please, let me have a son. If You do, I will give him to You for as long as he lives!"

All of us who have experienced the pain of waiting for answers can relate to Hannah. The Bible says she prayed so fervently that the priest thought she was drunk. Nevertheless, she felt better after having poured her heart out to the Lord.

What strikes me about this story is that Hannah didn't yet have an answer to her request (the happy ending comes later in the book), but she knew the Lord well enough to leave her problems at His feet. She refused to worry herself sick, and she didn't take revenge on her rival. She knew God could be trusted, that He had her best interests at heart, and that He would deal out justice to her enemies--in His own way and time.

Do you and I believe these things about God? When someone says something unkind to you, do you lash out at them? I have often seethed in anger at people's careless remarks, instead of realizing that they don't understand my pain because they've never experienced it.

And how many times have I given my problems--infertility, financial crises, fears and doubts--to the Lord and then taken them back, convinced I can work them out on my own if I just knew more or tried harder?

Often, I say I believe in God's goodness, but I am afraid to surrender completely to Him. It's almost as if I believe He will require too much of me.

How much simpler our lives would be if we followed Hannah's example and left our problems at the altar. After all, "God is love, and . . . as we live in God, our love grows more perfect . . . Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear." (I John 4:16-18).

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Copyright 2001 Dena J. Dyer. Used by permission. Dena Dyer is a freelance writer, speaker and musician from Granbury, Texas. Visit her Web site at:

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