1 Samuel 1:1-8
Four evenings a week, my husband and I talk while we prepare dinner. We’re usually interrupted by hungry, whining children, or our toddler getting into mischief in the bathroom. But this is our time to talk, however brief and interrupted it is. I commonly hear my husband say: “Tell me more about that,” “That stinks! The nerve,” and “Now that is funny.” He enjoys listening as much as I enjoy talking.
Occasionally my husband asks, with his mischievous smile, “Did you notice I took out the trash? It’s because I love you.” He sprinkles affection in the midst of our full days.
God frequently responds to my requests for a breakthrough with something else altogether. Usually it’s an unscheduled invitation to a relationship: the drop-in visitor at the office; a cuddle request from my child; an opportunity for honest, slow conversation during a fast-paced day; an empty trashcan in the bathroom. None of these are what I’ve asked of God, but they are God’s answer.
What Hannah needs is a child. Yet, what she receives for days, weeks, months, and years, is not a child. In today’s passage, what Hannah receives instead is the love expressed through her husband, Elkanah. The text goes out of its way to communicate details of Elkanah’s love for Hannah, describing his affectionate gestures and his longing for her to feel better.
Elkanah’s love is not enough to meet Hannah’s need. But I find that these gestures of tenderness, doting, and care are a means of grace for Hannah and for us, a way God answers.
What longings and desires are on your mind today? What relationships give you sustenance on your journey with Christ?
God, give me an open heart to receive all you have for me today, especially those gifts that lie within the unexpected. Amen.