But then, SHE GAVE HER SON TO GOD. Her one and only son, when she did not know that she would have another. She weaned him and brought him to the temple, "young as he was" (I Sam. 1:24). He was still a baby, but she knew that he belonged to God. What faith.
After handing her son over to the priest to raise, she prayed her prayer. She rejoiced in the Lord and his justice, that the strong would be humbled and the weak strengthened, those who were hungry would be fed, the barren woman would have children. Justice was coming!
Hannah went to the temple each year afterward with her husband to sacrifice to God, visit her son and bring him a new robe. Each time the priest prayed for her to have children to replace the one she gave to God. And eventually she did (the language suggests that there were years in between giving up Samuel and when she conceived again). "And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters." (I Samuel 2:21) Amen!
Here are some of my thoughts on Hannah.
I am not barren. I didn't have problems conceiving my first child, and I don't expect many problems conceiving a second time. I do, however, know that many of my blog friends are barren (or "infertile" in today's language), and I wanted to include her full story for you all, because the justice God delivered to Hannah is the justice that he will deliver for you - whether it is through a miracle, IVF, IUI, adoption, etc.
However, I feel a close connection to Hannah. She gave her only son to God. I had to give my son to God, also, although I was far less willing to do so. How did she do that? How could a mother bring her son to a place far away from her home and leave him there? How could she walk away from him?
And how did she then sing about justice? It seems to me that the justice that God had given to her at that point was a bit incomplete: her son was not with her any more, she would only see him once a year from that point on. How could she rejoice when her child was gone?
I think she rejoiced because she knew that God's justice was going to be completed. He was only halfway done. She had the faith to believe that one day, maybe tomorrow, maybe five years from now, maybe forty years from now, maybe not until after death, but one day, the poor would be rich, the weak would be strong, the barren woman would be a mother of many. What faith.
I posted her prayer earlier today because it is the promise that I am holding on to - that I too will be the mother of many, and that in my current weakness, the Lord is giving me strength. I posted it because God gave me Max and God took him away and because I am going to rejoice in his wisdom and justice!