Isn’t it funny how our lives, and history itself, move in circles? Names and stories trigger memories and we see meanings emerge that we were blind to before.
As I think about my name, “Samuel”, and as I read the story of his mother, written thousands of years ago, I notice that my wife had a similar experience to my own mother who had a similar experience to Hannah.
I obviously don’t remember, but my Mom and Dad struggled to have a child for 4 years. She’s told me that she longed to be a mother and never dreamed, when she was married, that it would be that hard. Both of my parents continued to pray for a baby and I was born in a doctor’s office in the hills of western Pennsylvania. They named me Samuel because, like Hannah, they prayed for a child. That is what “Samuel” means.
Years later, Sara and I were in a similar situation, but we knew that there was no biological way for us to have kids. So we prayed and pursued adoption. God gave us a baby girl. We named her Eliana, which means, “my God has answered”.
So this week, as we approach Mother’s Day, I’m thinking about Hannah, Samuel’s mother, who lived thousands of years ago.
First off, I’m reminded that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. He is a loving Father who cares for us even when it doesn’t feel that way and we don’t understand what is going on. I have lived in the tension multiple times in my life. Infertility. Cancer. The death of a child. But it’s true. Job is the one who first said this, but it’s true. Blessed be His Name.
I also see that people will misunderstand you, adding to the pain of your experience. Eli, a priest of God, thought Hannah was drunk when he saw her praying to God. People told Sara and I that we were too stressed and needed to take a weekend away with a bottle of wine to make things happen. We laugh about it now, but, people will mis-understand you.
Even when that happens, bring your pain and anguish to the Lord in prayer. That’s my third thought. Whatever you are going through, bring your pain and anguish to the Lord. For a woman who desires to be a mother, this is deeper than I know. But God hears you when you call. God hears. God answers.
Lastly, I am incredibly thankful for the example of these amazing Godly women. Hannah prayed, trusting that God would answer her prayer. And THEN, she fulfilled her vow, giving her little son back to the Lord. Incredible. My mom prayed to the Lord for a baby and I was born. Since then, I have watched her continue to live a life of faith, even in the midst of hard times and hard questions. My own wife has also showed me what deep faith looks like. She also struggled, prayed and continues to do so.
Isn’t it funny how our lives, and history itself, move in circles? Names and stories trigger memories and we see meanings emerge that we were blind to before. As I think about my name, Samuel, I realize that it’s a reminder of the faith of women throughout history who have taken their pain to God and afterwards said,
“For this child I have prayed”.