It’s another rainy day. The rain is falling into deep puddles. Puddles that the J-man stares at longingly, well aware of their “splash potential.” The April showers have yet to transform the dark earth of winter into the flowers of Spring. Sometimes it seems the rain will never stop, the sun will never shine, and the beauty that promises to emerge from the darkness is forever lost. The same is so often true of life.
I know too many who are in the throws of a mighty storm in life, standing soaking wet in the midst of a storm with their pain dripping off of them into puddles they wish they could splash away. There is joy in the rain – lessons to be learned, beauty in the fog and mist, refreshment in the fragrance of the dew. But let’s face it, even if you can find joy in the rain, you still get wet.
Just a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a treasure. With some trepidation I left my sweet babes in the care of my very capable husband and went to a short conference. During this conference I had the great privilege of learning from the wisdom of Gail MacDonald – wife to Gordon MacDonald, a pastor for 40 years. Gail has lived through heartache & loss, joy & triumph. As I sat in a room of fifty other women, Gail shared a great treasure with us – her life, her wisdom, her experience.
Gail reflected on the story of Hannah (1 Samuel) – a “devastated woman” – a woman in the throws of a storm. Like other “devastated women” of her time, Hannah was barren. This is a struggle near to the heart of many women – a timeless tragedy that haunts every generation.
Enter with me into the story of Hannah. Step back with me into the pages of history – the pages of Scripture. Hannah was married to a man named Elkanah. Unlike any custom of our current day, it was not uncommon for a man to have more than one wife. And Elkanah had two – Hannah & Penninah. Hannah was Elkanah’s true love. But despite his passion for her, their love had not birthed a child. While Penninah had given Elkanah children, Hannah had not. I am confident that Penninah longed for the affection that Elkanah showed Hannah. So Penninah played her one card – her trump card – to make Hannah feel worthless.
Each year, Elkanah and his family traveled together to worship God at the tabernacle. And each year, as they traveled Penninah would taunt Hannah – she would “provoke her until she wept and would not eat.” Each year, Hannah arrived at the tabernacle, to worship God, broken & battered – her soul starved and her stomach empty.
Hannah was in the rain. A fierce storm surrounded her and the sun seemed to have disappeared. Hannah came to God each year, hurting – battered and bruised after a long journey in the storm.
If you are in a storm – let your story meet Hannah’s story as we look at how she endured the pain. (Part 2 coming soon)