The yellow and purple crocuses peek their heads through the crusty snow, inching their way toward the sun’s warmth. The spring day promises higher temperatures than normal, so the flowers will shed the leftover white frozenness of winter and bring with it bright open faces by mid-day. I smile as I open the door to my favorite café. The change in season finally has shown its arrival. Even though the winter had been a mild one, it still lingered.
The bells jingle as I step into the busy establishment. The hustle and bustle tells me everyone is eager to shed their winter coats and get out from captivity and enjoy the day.
I glance around the room, hoping to find my guest. She’s not easy to miss with the white head dressing and cobalt blue dress, huddled in the corner booth. It’s obvious she wants to hide by the spot she picked off the beaten path.
I approach and extend my hand. “Hannah?”
She stands and returns the gesture. She smiles but glances at the floor. “Yes. Is this table good?”
“Perfect for our interview. Thanks for coming.” I gesture to the counter. “How about I order us some herbal teas and muffins?”
“Sounds delightful.” Again, she averts her gaze.
Oh boy. She’s a shy one. My muscles tense. Will she open up to my questions or stay closed off? These thoughts race through my mind as I approach the counter and place our order. I send up a quick prayer for guidance.
I return to the table, take out my notepad and pen with my recording device. “I hope you’re okay with me recording our conversation. It’s only for my sake as it’s hard to take notes.”
“I understand. What would you like to know?” She pushes her long brown hair behind her ear and adjusts her headdress.
I look at my questions and wonder where to start. Deciding on a question, I press play. “What was it like to be living under the roof with Peninnah? Her taunts on being barren must have made you weary.”
She sighs and watches a young couple with a baby nearby. “Horrifying and relentless. She never gave up reminding me that I didn’t have any children.” She squeezes her hands into fists.
“Yes and no. His love comforted me, but I still wanted a baby so badly, it hurt.”
“Most would have given up in your circumstances, but you didn’t.”
She fiddles with the cuff on her sleeve. “God had put the desire for a child in my heart and it wouldn’t let go. How could I give up on that? He just had the right timing in mind, so I had to hold steadfast to His plan.”
“Wow. You refused to let go of your dream. I admire that.”
How many times have we given up on something because we thought He wasn’t answering? This woman is an example to all of us. She waited for years and God finally rewarded her. Lord, forgive me for not waiting upon You. For trying to go ahead of your answer.
The waitress brings our teas and we both take a sip, letting the conversation simmer.
Hannah peeled the wrapper off her blueberry muffin. “God comforted me after I spoke to Eli the priest in the temple. I knew it was just a matter of time.”
“So, when all else had failed and no one around could comfort you in your barrenness, you held on to God. He was your source of strength?”
Again, I marvel at her steadfastness. She knew who to cling to in her times of trouble.
I write some notes on my pad. “When it came time to give up your long-awaited son, Samuel – to fulfill your vow – what was that like?”
Her brown eyes softened. “I had mixed emotions. I was happy to give to God what He had given me, but at the same time, that meant leaving Samuel at the temple. It was heart-wrenching. I sobbed all the way home.”
Tears pool and she takes a sip of tea. To gain composure or relive the moment?
“I just can’t imagine everything you went through.” I squeeze her hand. “Even after everything you remained strong and didn’t become bitter. How did you do it?”
She smiles and sets her mug down. “Only in God’s strength. Heaven knows I couldn’t have done it on my own. He gave me the courage to face every day.”
“That’s why you wrote that hymn of praise.”
“Yes. It was my way to thank God for His gift. Through it all, I believed He would answer me.”
“And in the end, He not only gave you Samuel but more amazing children.”
She smiles through her tears.
I sit back, stop the recorder, and think about everything we talked about. God gave her the strength she needed to hold on to her dreams and not let go. Even after such a long wait and all the taunting, she never became bitter. Her steadfastness and perseverance was honored by God—in His time.
What a lesson to us. In those times when we feel lost and abandoned, we just need to cling to God by praying and trusting. He will hold us in the palms of His hands. Steady and sure.
And when He’s ready, He will reward us better than we ever thought possible.
How amazing is that?
Do you believe God will answer your prayers? Hannah did. Share with us how you hold steadfast to Jesus.
1 Samuel 2:1-2 (VOICE)
Then Hannah prayed out of her deepest feelings.
Hannah: My heart rejoices in the Eternal One;
my strength grows strong in the Eternal.
My mouth can mock my enemies
because I celebrate how You have saved me!
No one is holy like the Eternal One—
no, no one but You;
and there is no rock as solid as our True God.