There are parts of Hannah's story that perplex and astound me as I read 1 Samuel 1 and 2.
And while there are many things I don't understand here are eight observations that encourage and challenge my soul.
1. Culturally, Hannah was living outside the social norm of bearing and caring for children. It's safe to say, the world around her probably saw her as having a lack of worth because of her lack of kids. (1 Samuel 1:2)
2. When provoked, she didn't retaliate. (1 Samuel 1:6-7)
3. Hannah continued to worship even in her wanting and waiting. (1 Samuel 1:7, 19)
4. From her song in 1 Samuel 2, we know that Hannah trusted God's supreme authority and ruling of the world and believed that he measured one's motives. "For the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed." (1 Samuel 2:3b)
5. Hannah spoke to God passionately and fervently, pleading and weeping and pouring out her heart's desire before the Lord, yet not hiding her grief or fear or anger from him. (1 Samuel 1:13-16)
6. Though her bargaining confuses me some, we know from this passage that she was willing to let go of the very thing she deeply desired, and followed through in her commitment, demonstrating obedience. (1 Samuel 1:11, 27-28)
7. God rewarded Hannah for her faithfulness and obedience beyond what she asked for. (1 Samuel 2:20-21; Ephesians 3:20-21)
8. Though Hannah's not directly mentioned in Hebrews 11, from her story we know she had great faith believing "God exists and rewards those who seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)
Ultimately God chooses and determines destinies, but like Hannah, I want to be a woman of great grace and faith even in the midst of unfavorable circumstances.