I have put myself in Hannah’s shoes
My name is Hannah and I am happily married to Elkanah but I am not his only wife. My story is from many years ago when it was okay to have multiple wives although most often it meant dispute and disharmony which was true to our family as well. I don’t get on well with the other wife called Penninah as she makes fun of me sometimes. She has children and I don’t.
Every year we go to a place called Shiloh to celebrate all that God does for us and to pray and worship God and this year was no different. Just before our trip, Penninah was making me really sad by pointing out that I didn’t have children whenever she had the chance. Many of my friends were pregnant or had children and everyone kept asking me when I was going to have a family while others were telling me what I was doing wrong and should do differently if I wanted to have a baby. Twenty-four hours a day I was reminded of my own difficulties, although I really wanted to be a mum, I tried to stay positive for the sake of my husband and continued to trust God with my future.
After we arrived to Shiloh, we ate some special food together as a family and my kind Elkanah gave me more food than to his other wife and children to show how much he cared about me. He is a loving man and I know that he was trying to help but everything got too much and I couldn’t cope anymore and started to cry. I love God, I pray, although sometimes I unintentionally hurt people even though I love them but still forgive them when they hurt me and yet I can’t have children but someone else who is intentionally mean, unforgiving and unkind can. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to ruin the mood so I pulled myself together and once everyone was busy chatting around the table, I slipped away to go to the temple to pray.
I was very honest with God and shared my anger, my frustrations and sadness and my tears were falling like a flood. I promised God that I would dedicate my son to Him for his whole life if He had listened to my prayer. While I was praying a priest, called Eli approached me who thought I was drunk because I was just mumbling to myself as I talked to God. After I explained my story, Eli realized that I was just being very honest and told me that he had hoped that my prayer would be answered.
God remembered me and gave me a son soon after we returned home. I have waited for a long time for this child and I loved him so much and called him Samuel which means
“Because I have asked for him from the LORD.”
I didn’t forget my promise to God and when Samuel was old enough, I returned to the place where I had prayed years ago. After sharing the good news with Eli, the priest and rejoicing with him, I introduced Samuel to him and have asked him to take care of Samuel and let him live at the temple. It was very hard to only see Samuel once a year but I wanted to keep my promise. Every year I pack my suitcase and visit him and give him new clothes and some special food from our garden.
But the good news didn’t end there. Soon after Samuel has moved into live with Eli, I have conceived again and God blessed me with more sons and daughters. I trusted God even in my darkest moments and He listened to my cry.
1 Samuel 1, Bible
In this blog, I have used Hannah’s story to explain my own story and how I feel about the difficulty with not being able to conceive. I have not taken the story of Hannah literally but have added my own interpretation to it to help me process how I am feeling and to help others who are also struggling with fertility problems. I have reflected on the passage of 1 Samuel 1 and assessed the importance of the story today and how my own experiences may affect how I retell a Bible story and how a story that was written thousands of years ago may be relevant to us today. This is MY story of fertility problems, surgery, pain and multiple miscarriages inspired by 1 Samuel 1 and I pray that God will listen to my cry like He listened to Hannah’s.
By Sassi Stuckey-Beeri