Hannah: The Hopeful Girl- Part 5 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this fourteen-week Bible study based on Girls’ Love Letters from God. If you have time, you may wish to keep a journal to record your responses to the questions. Please DO leave comments, responses or questions on this post so that we can learn from and encourage one another.

Hannah: The Hopeful Girl

Read: 1 Samuel 1:9-2:1

I have two adorable grandchildren who live 2000 long miles away. I see them about twice a year. Last time we visited, I distinctly remember what the weather was like the day we said goodbye. It was really cloudy and gloomy and rainy. I felt like the dark skies matched my mood.

But as we flew high above the clouds, the sun was waiting to greet us, shining bright and strong and cheerful on Mount Hood’s spectacular snow-covered peaks. It was a gorgeous sight. And it reminded me that in every sad or hard situation, there’s always hope, even if you can’t see it.

Sometimes you have to climb up to find hope, and sometimes you have to go down. And that’s where we find our Hannah… down on her knees, in the temple, literally crying out to her God of hope.

 

Hannah was desperate. She was desperate for the one thing in life that had eluded her…

a child.

Completely and utterly at the end of her own resources, Hannah falls to her knees on the cold temple floor and sobs to the One who knows her distress:

Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, 

Let’s pause right there. Look how Hannah begins her prayer… here is a woman, completely distraught, and in so much need, who actually doesn’t begin with herself, but begins instead in praise to the God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

A glimpse into other translations reinforces Hannah’s acknowledgement at the very outset of the only One capable of answering her plea.

Hannah begins by crying out to the Lord of hostsLord-All-Powerful; Lord of heaven’s armiesYahweh Tsebaoth (the Lord of armies)Eternal One, Commander of heavenly armiesLord Almighty

There’s no doubt about it… Hannah knows the strength of her God, but it doesn’t prevent her from pouring out her anguish and letting God know exactly how wretched and forgotten she feels. In the next breath, she says:

If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me
By giving me a son,
I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.

Can’t you just hear the anguish in Hannah’s voice? We don’t know how many times she’s prayed this prayer before, but I’m guessing it’s not the first. Her plea is so distressing that the priest who hears her actually thinks she’s drunk. But Hannah is not drowning in wine. She’s drowning in sorrow. Here is a woman completely distraught, who feels totally abandoned, neglected, and forgotten by God.

Have you been there?

Friends, I don’t know what it’s like to hope and hope for a child, to desperately plea with God for a baby. But I do know what it’s like to sink to my knees and cry out in desperation to God, to hope for something so elusive that even as I pray, I’m already questioning if it will really happen.

Hold on to hope! Because even in the darkest places, and sometimes especially in the darkest of places, hope can be found. I think God plants it there… buried deep, curled up tight, or hidden above dark clouds.

If you were to lift the flap to read God’s love letter to you in Hannah’s story, this is what you would find:

Dear _________________,

Did you know that hope can live in the darkest of places? Think about the deep soil, where daffodil bulbs are hidden. One day, pretty flowers will emerge from the dark earth. Or think about a chrysalis, hanging from a branch, all shriveled and lifeless. But inside, a butterfly is growing. One day, she will spread her wings and fly. Now think about Hannah. Even in her darkest days, hope was alive in her heart. And just like I whispered hope into Hannah’s heart, I will whisper hope into your heart too. Even in the darkest times, keep praying. Hold on to hope. It is my gift to you.

With Love,

God.

Hannah went on to have a baby.

Her great God of hope heard her prayer, and answered it. Can’t you see Hannah’s joy, as she cuddles Samuel, whose name means I asked the Lord for him …this little child, born from the darkness of a once-empty womb?

When Samuel was just three years old, Hannah took him back to the temple to live with Eli, the priest, just as she had promised. That little boy would grow up to be Israel’s greatest judge, one who would anoint kings.

Friends, I don’t know what it is you hope for. I don’t know what deep longings steal sleep from you at night. I don’t know what rips apart your soul and makes you cry. But God knows.

Cry out to God. Cry out to the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who can march in and defeat any enemy in your life.

Hold on to hope.

Prayer:

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hopeRomans 15:13, The Message

Your Turn:

Please share your response to one of these questions in the comments. 

Questions for Reflection

  • What is your favorite name for God, and why?
  • Where has God given you hope in the past?
  • What is God revealing to you through Hannah’s story?
  • What is your favorite Bible verse that brings you hope?

Going Deeper

15 thoughts on “Hannah: The Hopeful Girl- Part 5 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

  1. Mary Jane

    I have never had a problem with being able to conceive a child but I am thinking of the people I know who have adopted and dearly love those children.
    I understand Hannah’s story and rejoice that she did what she promised God she would do. I know that in her time adoption was probably not considered. I love knowing that today it is a possibility, though very expensive. My empathy for those who want children and are unable to conceive and my prayers for those who are going to have children and do not want to have them or do not care for them after they are born.

    Reply
  2. Peggy Manrose

    I SO identify with Hannah! John and I waited six years before being blessed with our first son, and we prayed to God for a long time. But God did bless us, and then again 3 years later with our second son. God’s timing was right, and both sons have been a blessing!

    My favorite Bible verse on hope is Hebrews 11:1…
    “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

    Reply
    1. Glenys Post author

      Oh Peggy, I think your comment will surely bring hope to others. I did not realize you and John had waited all that time…six years must have seemed very long! And I LOVE that Bible verse too! 🙂

      Reply
  3. natalie

    Hi and sorry I didn’t participate in the last 2 studies.

    But here I am, finding a lot of myself being able to relate to the content in this study.

    a) Colette, Sam, Steven and myself will see you so very SOON! 5 months and counting!!

    b) Lots of Skyping until then!

    c) My answers to your questions!
    Questions for Reflection
    •What is your favorite name for God, and why? That would be God. I feel power behind keeping it simple.
    •Where has God given you hope in the past? Just that I am being heard by him and I feel strength through my belief.
    •What is God revealing to you through Hannah’s story? That anything is possible. Have the desire to make it happen.
    •What is your favorite Bible verse that brings you hope? Hmmm, it is with regret I don’t know.

    My struggle at the moment – constantly being open-minded when it comes to others and embracing their differences, AND wanting desperately for people close to me to have more of an interest in my life.

    Reply
    1. Glenys Post author

      Natalie…I’m counting the time down too! How sweet you are to go through all those questions and answer them faithfully like you did. I love it that you thought through them all. If you don’t have a favorite Bible verse on hope, I can share mine. I learned it off by heart and I use it so very much! It’s Romans 15:13:
      May the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace as I trust in him, so that I may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit 🙂

      Reply
  4. Anita

    It is heartbreaking to watch someone go through the agony of being unable to conceive. We watched our daughter go through this for years, trying many options, inclulding IVF, all of which failed. She finally gave it all to God and said, if I am not meant to have a baby, then I accept that. And several months later she was pregnant! Miracles happen and we know God always hears our prayers and holds us in HIs arms.
    I usually call God my “Heavenly Father” when I am praying.
    God has given me hope in seemingly hopeless situations many times in my life, including my daugher’s struggle to conceive and my cancer diagnosis 11 years ago. The prayers of my Christian family have always meant a great deal to me and I think that Hannah’s anguished prayer to God demonstrates that God hears our prayers always. That is why I always close my daily devotion time with intercessory prayers for friends and family.
    My favorite Bible verse is, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:13

    Reply
    1. Glenys Post author

      Anita…I was thinking about your daughter as I wrote this, and what a wonderful miracle that was in her life, after waiting all that time. I have used her story many times to encourage others in the same situation. I love Philippians 4:13 also!

      Reply
      1. Anita

        I am so happy that you use Cari’s story – I feel it’s a wonderful story and am so proud of Cari for turning it all over to God. That took a lot of courage and now we have our wonderful grandson Thomas, thanks be to God!

        Reply
  5. Lori

    My favorite verse is Philippines 4:13.
    What God revealed to me is to show all your emotions to God.
    Comparing Mary’s song to Hannah’s prayer. Hannah’s prayer is sometimes called the Magnifat of the O.T. because it is so similar to the Magnificat of the N.T. Both are filled with praise and thanksgiving.
    Something that bothered me in this story was the pledge or vow from Hannah that if God gave her a son that she would in exchange give him to the Lord in service. So, I dug a bit deeper and started at the beginning of the chapter. Hannah is 1 of 2 wives. Peninnah has bore him sons and daughters. However, Hannah is loved by the husband more. Every chance she gets, Peninnah provokes Hannah for being barren. This is what drives her tears and desperation. Barren women are worthless even though her husband loves her more. Also it was common at this time for women to make vows to God. I would imagine it was very hard to leave her 3 year old. I sure couldn’t do that. But in her prayer of praise and thanksgiving, it is noted in the NIV study bible that Hannah’s joy is not the child himself but that God answered her prayer in “my horn is lifted high”. This means to be lifted by God to be delivered from disgrace to a position of honor and strength. She no longer is worthless as a barren women.Hannah is lifted up as God lifts us up.

    Reply
  6. Glenys Post author

    Lori, thank so much for digging in to teach us more about Hannah’s story. I also found it incredible that she gave her three year old up but I read something that said Hannah was just giving back to God what already belonged to him. Also, I read on and found out that Hannah had many other children after Samuel…so that made me feel better for her!

    Reply
    1. Lori

      Awesome! I am glad, too that Hannah had other children. It really bothered me to give up that child. Such a different time; it is hard for us to comprehend.

      Reply
  7. Irene Strom

    I was thinking back to my own time of grief trying to conceive a child. Over the course of four years we tried every type of fertility treatment. I prayed, raged, and grieved with each failure. Then, we decided on adoption, and waited six more agonizing years before we were finally chosen to be the parents of a beautiful baby girl. We saw her for the first time when she was three days old, and in that first moment, I knew…it had been God’s plan all along. This child had always been meant for us. The joy and wonder I felt cannot be described. And every time I am with my daughter, I am overcome with gratitude and love. God does hear our prayers!

    Reply

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