How have you dealt with disappointment in the past?
When your dad didn’t show up to your games growing up, how did you react? When you failed the test to get your driver’s license, how did you handle that? When your significant other broke up with you, when your doctor shared a discouraging diagnosis, when your boss passed over you for a promotion, and when your aging parent began to lose their memory and you along with it, what did you do?
Hannah was no stranger to disappointment. She wanted nothing more than to get pregnant and start a family with her husband Elkanah. But year after year, it was the same, sad story—no baby. To make matters worse, Elkanah had another wife who had plenty of children, and she had no problems bragging about it and shoving her supposed superiority in Hannah’s face.
Her response? She got up and went to pray. Enough was enough. She couldn’t stand the deep anguish any longer, so she prayed fervently, crying bitterly, and poured her heart out to the Lord. And she didn’t stop until she found peace.
When we face our own disappointments, it is tempting to grow bitter. We may want to lash out at the people in our lives and may want to give up altogether. But let’s instead take our cue from Hannah and go straight to the presence of God. He cares about our hearts, He wants to tenderly heal our sorrow, and He is more than able to change the storyline.
As we lay it all out on the table and pray out of our great anguish and sorrow, we will surely find relief. Because Psalm 34:18 tells us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” That is our promise, that is our assurance, and that is our reality. Pray, pray, and pray until, like Hannah, you can go in peace. God is for you and on your side; don’t hesitate any longer, but come boldly before His throne today.
- Think about the last time you were disappointed. How did you react?
- Commit to memory Psalm 34:18, so when you face those defeating moments, you can remind yourself who is for you and still working for your good—“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
1 Samuel 1:1-28
Elkanah and His Family
1 There was a man named Elkanah who lived in Ramah in the region of Zuph in the hill country of Ephraim. He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, of Ephraim.2 Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not.
3 Each year Elkanah would travel to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies at the Tabernacle. The priests of the Lord at that time were the two sons of Eli—Hophni and Phinehas. 4 On the days Elkanah presented his sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to Peninnah and each of her children.5 And though he loved Hannah, he would give her only one choice portion because the Lord had given her no children. 6 So Peninnah would taunt Hannah and make fun of her because the Lord had kept her from having children. 7 Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat.
8 “Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?”
Hannah’s Prayer for a Son
9 Once after a sacrificial meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the Tabernacle. 10 Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. 11 And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.”
12 As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. 13 Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. 14 “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!”
15 “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. 16 Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.”
17 “In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”
18 “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.
Samuel’s Birth and Dedication
19 The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her plea,20 and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.”
21 The next year Elkanah and his family went on their annual trip to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and to keep his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go. She told her husband, “Wait until the boy is weaned. Then I will take him to the Tabernacle and leave him there with the Lord permanently.”
23 “Whatever you think is best,” Elkanah agreed. “Stay here for now, and may the Lord help you keep your promise.” So she stayed home and nursed the boy until he was weaned.
24 When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine. 25 After sacrificing the bull, they brought the boy to Eli. 26 “Sir, do you remember me?” Hannah asked. “I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. 27 I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. 28 Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.