Hannah has one of the most powerful and unique stories of infertility in the Bible. She was humiliated daily by her "sister-wife" for being infertile, so much so that she would often starve herself. But she trusted God's ability in the end.
Infertility in the Bible: Hannah’s Cry
Last week we talked about Rachel's journey with infertility and you will find that her story shares alot in common with Hannah's. Both of their husbands had another wife, both of them were their husband's favorite, and both of them suffered from infertility while their “sister-wife” went on to have several children.
But Hannah didn't turn to jealousy and anger like Rachel, in fact, she did the exact opposite.
Let's take a deeper look at Hanna’s story and how she responded to her infertility. There is so much life-changing perspective we can gain from her.
1. She didn't let being mocked about her infertility stop her from trusting God:
Hannah’s husband Elkanah had another wife name Peninnah. Peninnah was a very mean person. The Bible says that she constantly picked on Hannah for being infertile. So much so that Hannah would be filled with grief to the point that she wouldn’t eat.
When reading the chapter, we get the impression that Peninnah did this because she was jealous that Hannah was the favorite wife of Elkanah, so Peninnah resorted to flaunting the only thing she could…her fertility.
“And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret because the LORD had shut up her womb. 7And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat” (1 Samuel 1:6).
Take note Sis! If anyone seems to bring up the fact that you don’t have children, in a condescending way, it could very well be because they are jealous of other blessings or favor the Lord has given you.
Another spiritual Nugget!
Notice how Penninah took particular pleasure in picking on Hannah when she went to the house of the Lord. Isn't odd that Peninnah would purposely provoke Hannah right before she went to commune with God? It's almost as if Peninnah was mocking Hannah saying “How many times will you go to the house of the Lord and still leave Infertile?"
This was definitely the devil working in her. Satan likes to get you to question God, right after you have spent time trying to talk to the Lord. He does this to make you feel like God has abandoned you, which leaves you more vulnerable to envy, jealousy and desperation.
But Hanna knew God was still there, and she responded by seeking God in Prayer (1 Samuel 1:10)!
Takeaway #1 : On your journey, there will be a lot of naysayers who come out of the woodworks the second you start fasting, praying, and reading scripture to seek God for a Child. Sometimes that negativitiy may even come from your own inner voice. Ignore it. Trust God at all costs.
2. She was bitter, but she brought her bitterness to Lord:
The most unique thing about Hannah is how she went to God to pray.
“ And she was in bitterness of soul and prayed unto the Lord and wept sore”. (1 Samuel 1:10).
When Peninnah provoked Hannah, it made Hannah severly sad. In fact the Bible says that Hanna was “in Bitterness of soul”. So although she didn't retaliate to Peninnah, she was still dwelling in hurt. But she didn't convert that pain into jealousy, and anger...she instead took her sadness to God in tears.
I feel like we need to post 1 Samuel 1:10 on the walls of our home. Every time you get upset, or every time you see a baby announcement that isn't yours, look up and read that verse.
It reminds you that one, it's okay to be upset. Two it's okay to have physical tears. And three, bring all of that emotion directly to the feet of God.
And ladies let me tell you, tears are a very spiritual thing. There is something about tears that places you in a state of prayer that is so genuine. And when you take those tears to the Lord, it shows that you are trusting him above everyone else.
Take away # 2: Infertility and bareness will undoubtedly bring emotions to the forefront, and that's okay. It’s what you do with them that matters. Take your brokeness to God and share your heart with him no matter how bitter you feel.
3. She recognized God as the solution to her infertility:
Hannah knew very well that the reason her womb was closed was because of the Lord, and even the passage makes it very clear that God was the one who closed her womb:
“But unto Hannah, he (her husband) gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah:but the Lord had shut up her womb" (1 Samuel 1:5)
This is why Hannah went directly to the creator of souls to ask for a child. The Bible even shows us how desperatly she prayed to God.
She was found praying so fervently in front of the temple that a priest thought she was drunk. That's the passion with which she prayed (Samuel 1:12-16). This shows you just how much she recognized that God was the sole person who could give her a child.
Unfortunately, many women today don’t recognize God’s role in conception. I can understand why. Every day we see people of different races, faiths, moral compassess, and medical conditions becoming pregnant. So much so that it might seem God has put conception on some type of autopilot.
But be not mistaken, God is signing off on all pregnancies. Afterall, the word for womb in the Bible comes from a Hebrew word meaning matrix or portal, indicating that the womb is a spiritual door has to be opened in order for a soul to come through.
Who do you think approves that door to be opened? God.
Even Rachel in the Bible, who we talked about last month, seemed to struggle with understanding God’s role infertility in at the beginning of her walk.
Takeaway # 3: Be sure to recognize God’s role in conception like Hannah, and do not be afriad to pray to God passionatley about your desire for a child.
4. She dedicated her unborn child to God:
The fact that Hannah recognized God’s hand over conception is one thing, but its what she said when she prayed that really moved God to compassion:
“And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. (1 Samuel 1:11).
Not only did Hannah ask for a child, but she promised the Lord that if He granted her a male child, she would fully raise him in the ways of the Lord and dedicate him to serve in the Lord’s temple.
Shortly after this verse, we see that God blesses Hannah and her husband Elkanah with a child, Samuel, who would go on to be a prophet.
Takeaway # 4- If we are going to ask God for a child, we need to do so with the intention of raising that child in the ways of the Lord. Show God that if He blesses you with a child, He can trust that you will raise him or her on the foundation and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Besides, you never know if your child will end up with a special calling on their life, like Samuel. God might have you in a season of prepartion for such a blessing.
5. She left prayer in faith:
After Hannah prayed, she walked away full of faith. How do we know this? She left prayer uplifted and comforted.
And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. (Samuel 1:18)
Take-away#5: There is a reason why the Bible says to bring your burdens to God, all who are heaven laden, so God can give you rest (Mathew 11:28). Prayer is the ultimate way to do this. When you truly pray to God the Holy Spirit supernaturally comforts you. You leave knowing fullwell that God’s will is what is best for you and that God is capable of doing anything. Prayer was the perfect antidote for Hannah’s bitter heart.
6. She and her husband worshipped Together before making love:
Lastly, on the day that Hannah conceived her son, both she and her husband had spent time that morning worshipping before the Lord, and that day they conceived.
“ And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her (1 Samuel 1:19).
I don’t think the fact that they worshipped God the same day that they conceived was put into the Bible by coincidence.
Takeaway #6: I believe worship was what moved God to open Hannah's womb at that moment. There is something about boasting about God’s power and praising God that moves him to compassion and provokes him to break down strongholds in your life. It's like in the story of Jericho when the Israelites worshipped and played music around the walls of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down. In essence, you are boasting in the spirit of what your God is capable of. The woship brings a unique type of Glory to God, one that often moves God to fight battles on your behalf, allowing him to get the Glory from your victory.
I hope you enjoy this story as much as I have. This is such an amazing story of fertility.
I imagine if we could ask Hannah what her secret sauce was for getting pregnant, she might say “Cry, Pray, Worship, and make love all on the same day!
Just to end, I want to mention that Hannah went on to have several more children after she followed through with her promise to dedicate her child to God.
I encourage you to read 1 Samuel and share with me any unique takeaways you got from this story.