Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
1 Samuel 1:6-8
Suffering is part of life as long as we live in this fallen world.
Well, yes, but we cannot run from the truth.
We need to learn how to handle pain and suffering, not just when it is happening but also before it does.
While we should not spend every waking moment expecting bad things to happen, we need to be prepared. We will lose loved ones, get disappointed, there are things we want but will never have, or they may delay manifesting in our lives. All these will lead to pain and suffering.
One of the best ways to know how to handle suffering is through the life of Hannah in the Bible.
Hannah wanted a child, but God had closed her womb, and she suffered for it. Now, maybe she could have found a way of living with it, like adopt, but no, there was Peninah, always mocking her.
Are you going through something similar? There is this thing you have wanted all your life, but it is just not manifesting in your life. No matter what you do with your human effort, things are not working out. All this is making you suffer mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually.
But, why is suffering part of the Christian life?
Suffering is your Battlefield
It is through suffering that we learn how to fight our spiritual battles.
While Hannah had to deal with a real person, that is Peninah; we deal with Satan and his demons. He is there to taunt us just like Peninah did to Hannah. But, not just that he also wants to steal, kill and destroy.
How we deal with challenges is very important, we can let things overpower us by spending time feeling sorry for ourselves, or we can choose to handle our suffering spiritually as Hannah did.
Prayer is a Great weapon when you’re suffering
Hannah spent time crying, but it was when she chose to pray that things started working for her good.
Imagine if she had continued crying instead of praying.
If you are going through a difficult situation, then go deep in prayer. We are told to pray at all times. Praying shows that you trust God and are placing everything in God’s hands.
Suffering Tests and Stretches our faith
Something that stands out in this story is that God himself had closed Hannah’s womb.
Could it be that God is testing your faith?
Maybe what you are going through is God’s doing. Peninah may have been busy mocking Hannah, but she forgot that Children are a gift from God and so it wasn’t up to Hannah but God.
God uses suffering to test and stretch our faith.
Hannah promised to lend her child to God. Now it takes faith to make such an immense promise. The suffering she went through stretched her faith to a level that she was willing to do that.
After all that Hannah went through, God blessed her with a son. While we do not know much about Peninah’s children, we know that Hannah’s son Samuel became a great Prophet in Israel. The story of Hannah should encourage us to soldier on no matter what we are facing.
If we hold on to God’s word and go deeper in prayer, he will give us great and marvelous things that are beyond our imaginations.