When you are faced with problems or difficult people, how do you respond? Do you respond with jealousy and anger, or do you turn to God?
1 Samuel tells the story of Elkanah and his two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Hannah, his first wife, was barren. In the interest of of ensuring the transmission of Elkanah’s inheritance, he took Peninnah as his second wife, and she bore him many children. In spite of Peninnah’s fertility, Elkanah still preferred Hannah, giving her a double portion whenever he made offerings at Shiloh. This show of favoritism infuriated Peninnah, who in turn mercilessly provoked Hannah. She mocked her for her barrenness, telling Hannah that she was a cursed woman. During this time, the belief was that those who were faithful to God were blessed, and those who sinned were not.
Even though Hannah was loved and favored by her husband, her barrenness was a source of anguish for her, and a target for the jealous Peninnah. The double portion given to Hannah by her husband didn’t make up for the missing pieces in other areas of her life.
In the face of jealousy and lack, Hannah didn’t turn on her family. She didn’t lash out at Peninnah for all the years she tore Hannah down. Hannah took her pain to God, because pain is one of the greatest calls to prayer that you can ever experience. She wept in anguish, letting it all out to God. At some point, when what you lack is more than you can bear, you have to rise up on the inside and turn to God.
Just like Hannah, when you give God your problems, He gives you His solutions! She was blessed by God, giving birth to Samuel, whom she dedicated to the Lord.
Sometimes, what you cannot do is part of God’s plan, and the thing you’re missing is what God uses to make you great. Don’t give up hope. When you’re in pain, don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. In your weakness, God gives you supernatural strength. He is listening, waiting for you to come to Him with dedicated prayers. Remember that there is purpose in everything God does, even if we don’t see what it is.
Living in Grace and Peace,
Dr. Derek Grier
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