Last Saturday, in Mountain-Moving Faith, Part 4, we saw from the example of Simeon that mountain-moving faith not only waits in anticipation, never doubting that it will come, even when the promise is delayed, and it also recognizes the fulfillment of the promise without doubt and is so self-assured that there is absolutely no fear to tell people.
Today we will take a look at another biblical example of mountain-moving faith: The faith of…Hannah…
We know very little about her, actually. We know that:
— She was the wife of a loving husband (“But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her…” 1 Samuel 1:5 NIV);
— She was one of two wives (“He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah.” 1 Samuel 1:2 NIV);
— Peninnah, bullied her incessantly (“…her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.” 1 Samuel 1:6b-7 NIV);
— She was a passionate woman (“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly… Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk…” (1 Samuel 1:10,13 NIV).
But perhaps, most importantly, Hannah was the mother of…
And herein lie the root of her trouble: “Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.” (1 Samuel 1:2b NIV). Besides the obvious bullying she was taking from Peninnah, we also know from history that it was a real shame for women to be barren, and as a result of her deep-seated anguish, Hannah was beyond shame. She had no one to turn to. Peninnah was a primary source of the problem, and even her loving husband’s response sounds rather unfeeling to a hurting heart: “You have me–isn’t that better than having ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8b NLT).
Little caring what people would think, Hannah turned to God, her only hope: “In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.” (1 Samuel 1:10 NIV). Her pain was so pronounced that Eli thought she was drunk: “Eli…said to her, ‘How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.'” (1 Samuel 1:14 NIV).
Over the course of the next few seconds, however, something happened to Hannah. The Bible records that, “…she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.” (1 Samuel 1:18b NIV).
Simply this: “Eli answered, ‘Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.'” (1 Samuel 1:17 NIV).
That’s all it took. Hannah went away filled with joy, and the Bible records, “…Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him.'” (1 Samuel 1:20 NIV).
Although Hannah was stuck behind the mountain of infertility, she had mustard-seed-sized faith. There was no doubt in her mind that God had spoken to her through Eli, and her faith left no room at all for God to renege on His promise. As a result, she went away rejoicing, knowing beyond a doubt that God would do what He had promised.
But Hannah’s mountain-moving faith ran even deeper than this. We know that Eli wasn’t exactly the best father figure in the world. The Bible records, “Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:12 NIV). I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t entrust the father of those “scoundrels” with “no regard for the Lord” to raise any of my precious children, let alone my prayed-for, miracle son! Yet that is exactly what Hannah did. She did so to fulfill a promise to God, for when she prayed for a son, “she made a vow, saying, ‘Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.'” (1 Samuel 1:11 NIV).
Samuel was a miracle child, given as a gift to Hannah, and rather than looking to logic to determine who should raise this precious gift, Hannah trusted him to–the Lord! Even when that meant he was put in the care of the father of “scoundrals” with“no regard for the Lord”!
That’s what mountain-moving faith looks like, friends! It is faith that causes us to put off our grief and depression and rejoice, even before the prayed-for thing is received; and it is the faith that causes us to relinquish our precious gifts into God’s hands, even if that seems a totally illogical thing to do.
Lord, give me Hannah-Like faith!
But wait. How can we simply go on anticipating the promise in faith when we all know people who had mountain-moving faith and died without receiving the promise? Join us on Thursday for: “But What if our Stand in Faith ends up in…Nothing? Mountain-Moving Faith, Part 6”.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Mountain-Moving Faith” mini-series, please click here!)