All Things Work Together For Good
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” ~Romans 8:28
In the Bible, the first book of Samuel opens with the story of Hannah, one of the two wives of a man named Elkanah.
Hannah was bitterly discouraged for “God had closed her womb.” (1 Samuel 1:5)
Barrenness for Hebrew women was a social stigma for it was important to produce an heir and perpetuate the name of her husband.
The inability to have children isolated her from other women resulting in insecurity and shame.
Hannah’s problems were intensified by her husband’s second wife. Penninah made life miserable for Hannah because she was childless.
Every year the family would go to Shiloh to worship the Lord.
Elkanah would give Penninah and her children portions of the sacrifice, but to Hannah “he gave a double portion for he loved Hannah…” (1 Samuel 1:5)
Hannah was so distressed about being childless and so tormented year after year by Penninah that she couldn’t even eat.
So she went to the tabernacle of the Lord and poured her heart out to God.
Hannah’s troubles finally motivated her to seek God to help her out of her difficulty, looking past her suffering to the Source of her Healing. As long as she kept focusing on her problem it just created more stress and anxiety.
After Hannah prayed to the One “who upholds all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3), she experienced God’s peace. She was then able to eat and enjoy the feast with her family. (1 Samuel 1:18)
God remembered Hannah (v.19) and in time she bore a son whom she named Samuel, a name that means, “God hears.”
Not only did God answer Hannah’s need through prayer, Hannah answered God’s need for a prophet to teach His people Israel His word.
For that day when Hannah had poured her heart out to God she, “vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life...” (1 Samuel 1:11)
Hannah kept her vow even though she had desperately wanted a child.
As soon as she’d weaned little Samuel, she “brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young.” (1 Samuel 1:24)
She told Eli the priest, “For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to Him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:28)
For her faithfulness in keeping her vow to Him, God gave Hannah five more children; three sons and two daughters!
Little Samuel would grow up to become one of Israel’s greatest prophets. He would go on to anoint King David through whose lineage would come our Savior Jesus Christ.
The answer to Hannah’s prayer continues to echo down through multiple generations to bless every man, woman and child, indeed, all of creation today, through Jesus Christ the Savior of the world. Isn’t that amazing to think about?
Thoughts for Meditation and Reflection:
Hannah’s need ended up glorifying God through her vow, her faithfulness, and her son Samuel.
Could my need somehow glorify God, if in faith, I lay it on His altar as Hannah did, trusting that He will work it all out for my good?
When Hannah poured her heart out to God, surrendering everything to Him, she made herself available as a willing vessel.
We can’t out-give God. In “lending” Him her firstborn, God gave to Hannah five more children. God does indeed hear our prayers.
Our needs are opportunities to look to God and seek Him for His solutions. His answers will bless not only ourselves, but others through us.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that you are able to make all things work together for good to those who love You.