I filled my cup of coffee and tossed in a dash of cinnamon (I’ve been into that, recently, anyone else?) and walked out to the back patio.
My backyard is so quiet, serene. Living in the country lets me breathe a bit deeper.
The dog followed me outside as I took a seat and opened to 1 Samuel.
Having never read the book of 1 Samuel before, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I mean, other than that it was probably about Samuel (good guess, or??)
As I read through chapter 1, studied with commentaries, dug into every line on the page, and highlighted note after note, the page just came to life.
And God taught me something I never anticipated to learn through Hannah’s (the mother of Samuel) story.
Before Samuel was born, Hannah’s womb was closed, which, understandably, caused grief for Hannah. But her husband loved her, he would always bless her with a double portion.
But she had an ongoing burden, a conflict with her hubby’s other wife, Peninnah, who could give him children (polygamy was common back then, although the Bible never condones it, and always points to the conflict it brings).
Hannah was provoked by her rival, the other wife, causing her to feel less than, and bitter as a result.
Then, it says, that while at the temple of the Lord, Hannah wept bitterly, pleading with Him.
While her pain was valid, and while she did the right thing by taking her tears and burden to the feet of the Father, something struck me as I read:
Hannah is at the house of the Lord, with the blessing of a double portion from her husband who loves her, and she cannot enjoy it because her burdens are so heavy.
And a powerful lesson jumped out at me.
How often do we do that? It is indeed possible for your problems at home to make your time with God miserable, to ruin your very ability to experience the blessing of His presence—if you let it.
I don’t know what your burdens look like today. Perhaps they are as heavy and painful as Hannah’s, or just a little irritating. Either way, I think the question we must always ask ourselves, in pursuit of joy and purpose, is this: Are you so focused on a burden in your life that you’re missing a blessing in your life?