“Bold Faith stands on the shoulders of quiet trust.”Bill Johnson
Hannah took in a breath. A single breath filled her lungs and flowed through her body restoring her hope and renewing her faith. The presence of God in Eli’s words was the water which purged her of the despair. It was oil poured over the rawness of her spirit, healing the hurt. She trusted this One True God, whom she had worshiped her entire life.
That night she ate with her family. Somehow, the sadness had been washed away. Elkanah looked at her with concern. Had she broken down completely? One moment she was despondent, eating nothing for days and little for the months before that. He had been concerned for her health. But now she ate with the family-the children of the woman who had reviled her and even Peninnah herself. She sat with this woman who had called her names and lorded her status of motherhood over her. He said nothing. Neither did Hannah.
It was time to go home. But first he wanted to go worship at the tabernacle one more time. They had risen early, taken breakfast, and walked to the tent of meeting. Hannah prayed quietly. He had not seen such a look of serenity upon her face in years. Not even Peninnah seemed to shake her today. Something had happened and he was determined to discover what. It would not be today, however. There was much to do.
Once the donkeys were prepared and the camels loaded with supplies, the children were gathered together for the journey. They would stop to rest midday but even with this stop they should make it home before nightfall. He would have time to talk with Hannah then. He would go to her tent tonight and discover the reason for this change.
Hannah saw her husband looking at her with concerned eyes. Yet still she rode silently through the morning. In her heart’s eyes she saw a future marked with the birth of a son, her son, sent from the Creator Himself. No, not hers. Gods. She had promised to bring him to the temple at the right time. But she would think of that another day. For now she held her baby close to her heart. Her spirit danced with the possibilities. If God could give her one child He could certainly give her more! She began to hum. Elkanah must have heard her for he glanced her way with a surprised look. She did not care. She smiled and kept humming. A faith she had never had before swelled within her and soon she was singing, words under her breath, but singing. Faith had feet and she was determined to use those feet.
She expected her husband that evening, so she was not surprised when he entered her tent. “Husband.” She said the word with a smile. Almost a flirt. It had been a long time since she had flirted.
Elkanah did not hesitate. “What happened in Shiloh?”
Softly Hannah told him the story. Every detail. Every word and action and thought. And then she told him about how her hope had gently turned to trust.
“I thought I could be enough. I kinda liked the idea of having you all to myself.”
“But I do not have you all to myself. You have children, Elkanah, and another wife. I want someone to pour myself into, I want to walk as a woman who is not seen to live under a curse. Don’t you want a blessed wife, Elkaanah? Aren’t you tired of barrenness attached to your house. Yahweh is a God of abundance, is He not? Let us live in the abundance He promised our Father Abraham…descendants enough to shine as the stars of heavens and more numerable than the sands of shores.”
Her eyes sparkled as she spoke. He had always been her blessing, but now Yahweh had blessed her in a way he been unable to. They talked into the early morning hours, face to face and heart to heart. He leaned in a kissed her, gently but with promise. He placed his hand upon the gentle swell of her stomach, just below her rib cage. Soon a son would live there. Her faith was contagious and he believed her. The quiet trust she harbored supported a bold faith. Bold enough to move mountains and certain enough to carry a son.
A Bold Faith
According to Jewish texts Hannah had been barren for about 19 years. Jewish tradition says she was Elkanah’s only wife for ten of those years, but when she failed to carry a child he took another wife at her urging. This woman taunted Hannah and made fun of her for having no children. Perhaps she was jealous of the love she knew Elkanah had for Hannah.
But for nine years Hannah was reviled, ridiculed, and made to feel worthless. She could have lost hope. She may have for a time. She was heartsick, but the God of heaven and earth moved upon her heart, renewing her hope. She had been courageous enough to address the God of Heaven all on her own, without going through the priest. This was bold for anyone, but especially bold for a woman in that day. But her desperation and hope catapulted her into bravery. In seeing this, God chose to speak to her through Eli, the priest.
The tree of life planted within her grew into a quiet trust and a bold faith daring enough to believe the word of a priest was a word from God. She grabbed onto those words and held them within her heart just as Mary, the mother of Jesus grabbed ahold of the words of the archangel, Gabriel.
For Hannah, the promise did not come immediately. Scripture tells us she became pregnant in “due season”. Jewish Midrash states Hannah became pregnant on Rose Hashannah, a time of remembering, for the Lord remembered her prayers and His promise to her.
Hannah waited in quiet trust with bold faith for the promise to be fulfilled.
In much the same way, many of the Jews waited in quiet trust with bold faith for the promise of the Messiah to be fulfilled. This promise came in “due season”. They had prayed and believed for years. Then Jesus came. Mary and Joseph KNEW the son she bore was destined to be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, yet they raised him as their own in quiet trust that Yahweh would fulfill His promise at just the right time.
After Hannah received her promised son she conceived and bore three more sons and two daughters. Jewish tradition says she even claimed two sons of Peninnah as her own, becoming a mother of seven other children. The fruit from Hannah’s tree of life within her had multiplied.
Today, Jesus, sent as the Messiah for the Jewish nation, has become a tree of life to all mankind. The fruit of Jesus’ labor and His sacrifice grew beyond the Israelites’ wildest hopes.
Know this today, your quiet trust supports a bold faith. Faith is an adventure, my friend. A true adventure indeed. You may not know all our faith will bear but “all things are possible for those who believe.” (Mark 9:23)
In this Christmas season, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, I pray you trust God for that which your heart hopes. May this trust give way to a bold faith roaring like the Lion of Judah. Seek Him. Those who seek Him do indeed find HIM!
- Scripture Readings
- Hebrews 11:6
- Matthew 7:7
- Psalm 37:4
- Jeremiah 29:13
- John 15:7