August 18, 2008

God Is Still at Work

1 Samuel 1:1-20

Elkanah … had two wives … Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
1 Samuel 1:1-2


In the days of Elkanah, Peninnah, and Hannah, polygamy was acceptable. Also in those days a woman's worth was measured mainly by how many sons she had. As the years crawled by and Hannah remained infertile, her sorrow grew. But her pain made fertile soil for spiritual growth. She prayed fervently. Many people find that their deepest trials draw them closer to God. Hannah learned that God is the one to whom all people and all things belong. One day Hannah was praying so intensely that when a man of God, Eli, saw her, he thought she was drunk. He ordered her to get rid of her wine. But she had not been drinking. She said to him, “I was pouring out my soul to the Lord… I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” Then Eli encouraged her and said, “Go in peace.” “In the course of time” little Samuel was born to Hannah and Elkanah. Because Samuel was a gift of God, Hannah dedicated him to the service of the Lord. He became one of the most faithful leaders of God's people. Infertility still cuts deep into the lives of many couples. This story does not promise that all infertile couples will have children. It does reassure us that those who stay close to the heart of God in the their pain will see God work things out for his good purpose.

Lord and Giver of life, be near to all couples who long to have children and still wait. Give them your peace, and help us all to trust that in all things you work for our good. Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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