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Happy or Sad— Praise God!

Key References: 1 Samuel 1; 2:1-11; Patriarchs and Prophets, chap. 55, pp. 569-574; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 3, pp. 145-148; Our Beliefs, nos. 22, 23, 11

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

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We praise God for the gift of His grace whether we are happy or sad.

Have you ever felt so sad you thought your heart would break? Or ever been so upset that you couldn’t stop crying?

In this story a woman felt just that way. Thankfully, she was able to find a solution by talking to God about it.

Hannah was a happy mother of several children, but she recalled a time in her life she was overcome with sadness. It was during the time Hannah felt so discouraged that God intervened and answered her prayer in a miraculous way.

Hannah was married to a man named Elkanah. He had two wives—Hannah and Peninnah. Although Peninnah had children, Hannah did not have any. As a result, Hannah was consumed with the longing to have her own children.

Every year Elkanah would go to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the Lord. “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” (1 Samuel 1:4, 5, NKJV). To take revenge on Hannah who enjoyed her husband’s favor, Peninnah would taunt her that she did not have children. The constant provocations made Hannah’s life miserable.

This happened year after year. Hannah felt so deeply hurt that she would not even want to eat.

Elkanah would say, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8, NKJV).

One day while they were still in Shiloh, Hannah went to the tabernacle. “She was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish” (verse 10, NKJV). Right then and there, as she poured out her heart to God, Hannah made a promise to the Lord. She asked God for a child and promised that if the Lord would grant her request, she would consecrate the child to the service of God all the days of his life.

Eli the priest was sitting by the doorpost of the tabernacle, watching Hannah. He didn’t know she was praying. He saw her lips move, but didn’t hear her voice, so he thought she was drunk. “How long will you be drunk?” asked Eli. “Put your wine away from you!”

Hannah was quick to reply, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord.”

“Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman,” said Hannah, “for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.”

Eli then answered to her: “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”

“Let your maidservant find favor in your sight,” Hannah said as she left. She was no longer sad, but felt certain that God had heard and answered her prayer (see verses 14-18, NKJV). About nine months later Hannah had a baby boy and named him Samuel. The literal meaning of his name is “Heard by God” because Hannah said, “I have asked for him from the Lord” (verse 20, NKJV).

The next year when it was time to offer the yearly sacrifice and worship, Elkanah went to Shiloh, but Hannah did not go with him. “Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever” (verse 22, NKJV).

Hannah did not forget her commitment to the Lord. When she had weaned Samuel, she took him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. Samuel was still young. After making a sacrifice, she took young Samuel to Eli, the priest. She said, “I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord” (verses 26-28, NKJV).

Hannah and Elkanah worshipped God with praise and thanksgiving for all that He had done for them.