Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, February 21, 2016

From Pain to Praise

I shall come into Your house with burnt offerings;
I shall pay You my vows,
Which my lips uttered
And my mouth spoke when I was in distress. Psalm 66:13-14 (NASB)

Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. She made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.” 1 Samuel 1:8-11 (NASB)

Poor Hannah! Lived in shame and humiliation because of her barrenness and the provocation of Peninnah. Imagine enduring taunts daily from a second wife. 

Yes, that’s right. Hannah and Peninnah shared the same husband named Elkanah. Most likely Hannah and Elkanah were married for ten years before Peninnah joined the family. According to Jewish law, if a man and woman were childless after ten years of marriage, the man took a second wife in order to fulfill the commandment to be fruitful and multiply. 

Over time Peninnah delivered many children and Hannah encountered her insults with each passing day. In the community, whispers penetrated her ears. It’s as if Hannah daily walked with a gray and gloomy cloud over her head, producing a deluge of tears. Her distressed soul wept bitterly, affecting her husband. Elkanah asked, “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” What heartache she endured! 

Yet one day Hannah determined to go to the temple of God. On one of the annual trips to Shiloh (an assembly place for Israelite worship), where Elkanah yearly worshiped and sacrificed to the Lord, she rose early and prayed near the temple doorpost. As tears fell, her lips silently motioned her heartfelt vow to the Lord God. “Please Lord, if you give me a son, I will offer him to You all the days of His life,” she promised.

Eli, the priest on duty at the temple, considered her drunk and reprimanded her. She dismissed his claims, explaining her desire to empty her burdened soul before the Lord. Compassionately Eli blessed her with peace and the expectation of a validated request. Receiving favor she walked away uplifted.

Did Hannah receive the fruit of her bidding? Was she steadfast to her vow? Yes and yes. She gave birth to a son. She later returned to the temple and dedicated him to the Lord for his lifetime. The second chapter of the first book of Samuel is bursting with her thanksgiving to the One and Only Almighty God. “My heart exults in the Lord. I rejoice in Your salvation,” she proclaimed. 

Have difficulties rolled off your lips while pouring out your heart to God? What troubles have you mouthed to the Lord? Have you received answered prayers or a time of waiting? 

No matter what cloudy circumstances threaten you, remember He knows and cares for you. He is Immanuel, God with us. In the center of your sorrows, offer Him your burdens with humility and give Him the sacrifice of praise. 

O Lord, open my lips,
That my mouth may declare Your praise.
For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:15-17 (NASB)

Take your praises to the Lord with this song....

Praise God in your waiting with this song by Greg Long.....


  1. When I saw the title I knew that God's voice would speak to me through this blog. Reading the details, I'm encouraged to pray in the face of life's pain. Thank you for this lift. Johnnie

    1. We all struggle with some sort of pain. Offering praises to our Father applies the salve that calms our troubled hearts. Praying you'll be blessed with His peace and joy!