Hannah is leaving her little son to serve God, knowing she will only see him once a year from now on, and yet here she is with her heart lifted high before God, not seeming the least bit flat, resentful, or heavy hearted.
You could even say she is triumphant.
Hannah has been delivered from her infertility and will no longer be looked down upon by Peninah, the name Peninah means pearl, but she isn’t a thing of beauty, instead she is the gritty irritation which has been used to bring about something precious in Hannah. You could say she was a grace-grower.
The Lord turns things around, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. She who mocked the one without… can mock no more.
To be the mother of Samuel, what an honour for Hannah.
She has responded in obedience to the Lord nudging her heart to change and be available to him to do something utterly remarkable.
Previously Hannah had borne shame and awkwardness, sobbed and lost her appetite, but now has the joy of answered prayer, she and her husband have conceived a baby, watched her belly grow, felt the kicks and aches, known the disturbed sleep, and then…given birth to a special son and known the privilege of him being chosen to serve God.
The ‘how’ for Hannah is a difficult one for us to get our heads around. We look at her choosing to give her longed-for son away and ask how on earth can she do such a thing, well I do anyway.. and I don’t imagine I’m alone in that.
The truth is, we only ever discover the ‘how’ of a difficult situation by being in the middle of it with God.
We can’t see from where we are what happened in the quiet place with Hannah and God, but clearly some deep work went on between them for her to able to give Samuel into his service, only seeing him once a year, and, not only that, to be able to do it with confidence and joy.
This isn’t something which God imposed on her, Hannah’s response to him in this situation is crucial.
There is a to-ing and fro-ing in the process,
the God-sent idea,
the thinking it over,
the lying awake imagining the future and how she might cope with various happenings,
the Spirit rising in her to bring courage and faith,
the eventual tender ‘Yes’…
the attitude of…Let it be to me as you have said…much as Mary would say in response to her own challenge many years later.
The world changes for the better with a decision made with God.