Meet Hannah. She lived in Israel and was the favorite of Elkanah’s two wives. In her day, having children was a big deal for women because it was all they seemed to contribute to society, especially if the children you had were male. Daughters were loved and cherished, but having a son was something special. Hannah, however, didn’t have any sons. Hannah didn’t have any children at all. Her womb was barren. Elkanah’s other wife had children – two sons! – that about which she felt entitled. That didn’t help Hannah much, even though her husband didn’t care and she was loved.
So Hannah went to talk to God about it. After all, He was the one who had the power to close up her womb, and so only he would have the power to open it and give her a child, hopefully a son.
She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.
She laid it all on the line. There was no being shy and no beating around the bush as she told God what she really thought…
I have poured out my soul before the Lord. Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation.
The priest present, Eli, even prayed for her, saying he hoped God would answer her prayer and telling her to go in peace.
When she left, her face was no longer sad.
At this point in the story, Hannah doesn’t know that God will bring life to her womb and bless her with a son. At this point in the story, there are no burning bushes or dreams being interpreted that promise her hopes will be fulfilled the way she so desperately desired. At this point in the story, she has no tangible evidence that she would soon be pregnant. At this point, nothing should have changed…yet her face was no longer sad.
Hannah poured out her soul. She was honest with God. She told the One who had the power to do something about it that she was frustrated and sad. She asked for what she wanted. She promised to honor God with the desired blessing. She trusted that God of Israel would be faithful, no matter what happened or didn’t happen next.