God does ‘EVERYTHING’ in our LIFE for a REASON: "And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat." (1 Sam. 1:4-7)
The book of 1st Samuel opens by introducing us to a family living in the mountains of Ephraim where a man called Elkanah had two wives, Hannah (meaning, grace) and Peninnah (meaning, pearl). Just like Leah and Rachel, the two wives of Jacob, Peninnah had children while Hannah was barren (vv. 1-2). Even though Hannah was childless, she was more loved by her husband, who gave her a double portion of the peace offering that was offered to God at Shiloh (vv. 3–5).
Although this momentary limitation was an exceedingly bitter experience for Hannah, her husband’s kindness and favor were an immediate compensation (vv. 4-5, 8). Added to the implied social stigma of receiving only one part of the sacrifice were the constant jabs that Hannah faced from her rival Peninnah, who sorely provoked her and caused her both severe anxiety and depression until she could not bear the torture any more (vv. 6-7).
There was no particular reason why Hannah was barren, except that “the Lord had closed her womb” (v. 5). So, the temporary infertility of Hannah is ascribed directly to the will and act of God. A woman in Old Testament times who could bear no children was viewed as ‘cursed by God’ (Exo. 23:26, Deut. 7:14, Isa. 54:1). God is the One who provides the ability to conceive children (see Gen. 33:5; Ps. 127:3). So, that brings us to the question: why did God do such a thing in Hannah’s life so that she went literally through such a difficult experience? The answer for this question will be revealed when we examine closely what happened to Hannah as a result of this experience:
- Hannah’s despair drove her closer to the Lord; and in her misery she trusted in God’s true grace (vv. 9-10). The name Hannah means ‘grace’, and she needed God’s grace to handle her burdens.
- Hannah’s prayer was accompanied by the vow that if God would give her a son, she would dedicate him to Yahweh as a Nazirite for the rest of his life (v. 11).
- After the baby Samuel was born to Hannah as a result of prayer and faith in God, she waited for the child to be weaned before she gave him up to be raised in the tabernacle at Shiloh (vv. 19 -28).
- As the young boy Samuel ministered before the Lord even as a young child wearing a linen ephod (v. 18; 3:1a), and grew up before the Lord (v. 21b), he was suitably placed in an excellent position to hear God’s word about God’s judgment against the house of Eli the priest (3:1b-18).
- Finally, Samuel grew up in Shiloh, and the Lord was with him as God did not allow any word spoken by Samuel to fall in vain. In fact, Samuel became an established prophet of God (3:19-20) as the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh (v. 21).
This brings us to make this supposition that ‘God does everything in our life for a reason’. Even though we do not understand the reason why we go through sufferings at times, maybe due to no fault of our own, we should be clear that God has a great purpose behind it. Let us clearly understand that out of our sorrows and disappointments, God will build great faith and sends special blessings in our lives. God does everything in our lives for a reason!