She's the woman who seemingly has everything- an adoring husband and beautiful children, a spectacular house with unique style and initiative enough to pull off an immaculate interior, perfect clothes and perfect hair, and enough money to pay for whatever interests her. And everyone is always telling her that she looks like a model. Every person has a "her," and the "her" is the subject of many pitiful comparisons.
Hannah of the Bible wasn't the "her," but she lived with one who was completely obnoxious about it. In fact, she even shared "her" husband. While the other wife had many sons- the pride & credibility of an Israelite woman- Hannah lived for years as a barren wife. She had nothing, yet she finds that she possesses everything.
1 Samuel 1-2 tells the sweet story of how Hannah, in bitter despair, cried out to the Lord to grant her a child. After painful prayers, endless tears, and hopeless comparisons to "the other wife," the Lord granted her desperate plea. Hannah dedicated her son Samuel to the Lord's temple, and she left him there to serve Him for his entire life.
Although I am humbled and convicted to hear of the sacrifice of her only, God-given son, I am most comforted and blessed to hear Hannah's prayer after dedicating Samuel. Rather than simply thanking her Father for the blessing of a son and rejoicing in His provision, she praises Him for teaching her a lesson throughout the whole process.
“The bows of the warriors are broken,
but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
but those who were hungry are hungry no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
but she who has had many sons pines away." (2:4-5)
I'm not saying that the "her" is not blessed. I'm not saying that those with a beautiful body and perfect home (all according to the world's standards, of course) cannot have a beautiful relationship with Christ. But how can we learn of God's strength and fulfillment unless we become weak and empty?
Because of her barrenness, Hannah learned to rely on the Lord for her provision. How could she learn to rely if she already had many sons? She cried out so fiercely to the Lord that the priest thought she was drunk! Because Hannah did not have what she felt she was entitled to, she learned that the Lord was everything she needed. And as a result, when she was given the things she once thought she was entitled to, she eagerly and willingly gave it back to the Lord.
"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord." (1:27-28)
Think about what your life would really be like if you had absolutely everything you ever wanted... or even the things you felt like you needed. If you were given a husband, children, a beautiful home, lots of money, perfect academic abilities, lots of energy, and lots of friends, would you have a need for God?
Those who stumbled are now armed with strength when they find that the Lord is their refuge. Those who were hungry were fed Daily Bread and Living Water. Those who were barren found their fulfillment in their Heavenly Father, and He granted them blessings from their faithfulness.
What is it that you think you really need? I can think of a thousand different things, including a more flexible budget. I want an income and budget like "her." But instead of grieving the things I don't have, I choose to stop comparing and delight in the lessons that I am learning in this season- and one of the greatest lessons I have learned is that Jesus is enough. That tight budget is a blessing!