(Originally published 8/6/13)
A little while ago I re-read the account of Hannah and her son in 1 Samuel and I noticed something really beautiful. I actually read it as part of a quiet time while I was on my Honey Moon. I was on a cruise ship with my wonderful new husband and I was thinking about the job I had just quit.
I used to be a full time nanny (50hrs a week) to two small boys, ages 2 and 3. I worked for them for about a year and a half and boy did I ever get attached! When I got engaged and started making plans for the future, I was quite certain that the Lord was calling me to quit my job so I could work with my husband on writing full time. Even though I was sure I was doing the right thing, saying goodbye to those little guys was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. I’m not sure I’ve ever cried that hard before.
So even though I was having the time of my life enjoying my new hubby, I still thought about ‘my boys’ from time to time and missed them. When I was reading the story of Hannah and read the description of how she gave her beautiful new son back to the Lord, I’ll confess, I was crying again. I kept flashing back to my own heartbreaking farewell and I kept thinking about how much harder it must have been for Hannah. It makes her prayer in 1 Sam.2:1-10 that much more precious.
Then I noticed something strange. In 1 Sam.1:28 where Hannah says;
“Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long a he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.”
Here she is, giving her son back to the Lord as she swore she’d do if God blessed her with a child, and she uses the word ‘lent.’ I found that very odd. Wouldn’t ‘give’ be so much more appropriate here?
Fast forward to 1 Sam.2:19 and you get,
‘Moreover his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.’
And I wondered at that too. In the great scheme of Samuel’s life and all the plans God has for him, one would think this to be a rather insignificant detail. But I think it’s great. Here’s a woman who has honored God by ‘lending’ her beloved son to Him and rather than never seeing him again, God gives her a brief span of time, once a year, to hug her son and just love on him.
Another note on Hannah’s story is 2 Sam.2:21, which tells us that Hannah went on to have three more sons and two daughters. I believe that had she been unfaithful in keeping her word to dedicate Samuel, the Lord would not have given her any more children. After all, if she had chosen her son over God that would have been idolatry and I very much doubt that God would bless that with more children for her to idolize.
‘But he (Samuel) always returned to Ramah, for his home was there.’
Sometimes God asks us to give things up to Him and sometimes He takes things. Whether He does this so that we will draw closer to Him, or because those things are causing us to sin, sometimes we lose those things forever. But sometimes, as was the case with Hannah, God takes those things on loan and gives them back to us. Sometimes, when God takes something, or someone, away from us, it’s only for a season. But even when it’s not, God calls us to be faithful to Him and to hold Him above all others. When we do that, it blesses the Lord and He blesses us in return.