Our lady selected today is Hannah. Hannah was a woman who had a distinct yearning in her heart for a child. Year after year she was barren, with seemingly no hope for that dream to come to pass. Yet, “purpose” cried out to her and she cried out to God:
If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me
By giving me a son,
I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline. 1 Samuel 1:11 (MSG)
Can you imagine wanting something so badly for many years and then going to God and saying if He gives it to you, you will give it back to Him? That goes beyond desire, to recognizing purpose. When we want something just for us, that is desire. When we want something beyond what it will do for us – that’ s purpose! Hannah was driven by the Israel’s need to have a Samuel. When you look at our culture today, desperate to entrench into culture, the permission to get rid of life growing in the womb, do you ever wonder who that life is intended to be, what their purpose is?
Hannah was not without love, she had a devoted husband who had spoke these words to her:
Her husband Elkanah said, “Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren’t you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons?” 1 Samuel 1: (MSG)
It was not love that Hannah sought, but she wanted a fulfillment of the purpose for her life, which went beyond even that of a loving husband. Of course we know the end of the story, for Hannah did in fact conceive and have Samuel, who she took to the temple to serve the Lord all his days as God’s prophet. And that would seem to be the end of the story. Yet, it wasn’t:
20 And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The Lord give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the Lord. And they went unto their own home.
21 And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord.1 Samuel 2:20-21 (KJV)
God will be no man’s debtor – give and it shall be given unto you…