Let’s begin this lesson by looking at 1 Samuel 1:4-8 which reads: “And 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, although The Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of The Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat. Then Elkanah her husband said to her, ‘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?’”
Here is a woman who knows that part of her purpose is to bring a child into the world. And all of the wonderful gifts, and even her wonderful husband, was not enough to satisfy her. When we can’t fulfill our purpose, nothing – absolutely nothing – will ever satisfy us. And very much like Hannah’s situation, we will likely awaken each day to be taunted and emotionally tortured by what should be but hasn’t yet become. This was Hannah’s situation, but what so very impressive is her response. 1 Samuel 1:9-11 explains it this way...“So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of The Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to The Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O, Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to The Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”
Hannah was willing to make the necessary sacrifice to fulfill her purpose! The sacrifice seemed extreme as she would be giving away the very child she was desperately praying for. But she realized that the fruit and benefit of her purpose could never be more fulfilling and gratifying than the purpose itself. Her purpose was to bring a child into the world. What a lesson for us all. The fulfillment of purpose does not come without a sacrifice. And more often than not, the sacrifice will be major. Are you ready to do whatever it takes to fulfill your life’s purpose? I promise you it will be well worth any sacrifice you make!
More questions for discussion...
How does Hannah’s story teach us to bring out of us what’s hard to produce?
What role should nay-sayers and “haters” play in fulfilling our purpose?