Imagine yourself wearing Hannah’s sandals as you read or hear the scripture reading (1 Samuel 1:1-8). Peninnah is anyone in your life who claims to be a Christian but who behaves sinfully against you and has no remorse and suffers no punishment, month after month, year after year. Meanwhile, you have been a good and faithful worshipper of the Lord, yet your prayers for an end to this trial have been barren. Your Peninnah mocks your purity of faith, arrogantly treats you as inferior, and cares nothing about your sufferings.
Jesus is your Elkanah, your loving spouse. He says to you, “Why do you weep and mourn? Am I not more to you than everything else you wish for?”
He is, but his loving embrace cannot be felt physically, and his compassionate understanding does not end your sorrows. The injustices continue. You wonder why God hasn’t intervened to fulfil his promise of raising the lowly and humbling the arrogant.
In the next verses, we’ll see how God finally answers Hannah’s prayers, but today Hannah doesn’t know that her trial will ever end. After so many years of enduring Peninnah’s abuses and watching her receive great blessings despite her sinfulness, Hannah has good reason to grieve. Her tears are our tears when we need our own life to improve and it doesn’t.
At times like this, we have nothing but the Lord himself to give us comfort and satisfaction and peace. Relief doesn’t come from our prayers getting answered, but from the Answerer of our prayers. For now, his answer might only be, “I am here, my beloved. You are not alone. I am weeping with you.”
In this intimacy is the salvation we await. In this intimacy is the victory we know we should expect, the fulfilment of God’s promises in which we trust. In this intimacy is the justice and the deliverance that is due for us. But we can only experience this victory in him. It’s not in our trials – not yet. Jesus asks, “Am I not more to you than everything else?”
The darkest hour is the moment we feel like giving up, but the Light of Christ is always here, waiting to be rediscovered. We are battling powers of darkness that make us feel discouraged and dejected. We need to remember that God never ignores the cries of his people. Jesus has already conquered the darkness. Don’t let anyone or anything steal this truth from you. Every trial will end. Every injustice will be vindicated by your Beloved Lord.
But in the meantime, find your relief in Jesus.
© 2016 by Terry A. Modica