By Sylvester Williams  

In I Samuel 1, a young woman named Hannah shared a husband with a woman named Peninnah. The husband's name was Elkanah. Elkanah's second wife, Peninnah, was able bear children and the scriptures indicated she gave birth to sons and daughters. However, the scriptures indicate that Hannah's womb was "shut up," which prevented her from being able to conceive. Having a child, especially a son in this cultural setting was a sign of God's favor and blessing. Not having a child was viewed as a sign of God's curse. 

Hannah was dealing with some tough life issues that were really outside her control. To add insult to injury, the other wife, Peninnah, did not attempt to make things better. Rather than being a source of comfort, Peninnah provoked Hannah to a point where Hannah became very bitter. Although Elkanah treated Hannah very well and loved her dearly, her inability to produce a child left her feeling insignificant, inadequate and inferior.

Many times in our lives, we've experienced similar situations and feelings. Things happen in our lives that seem unfair, things that are outside our span of control. Times when we are being agitated and provoked.  The adversary's hope is that we will grow bitter, retaliate and develop a hatred towards God.

Rather than seeking revenge, being combative or blaming God, Hannah went to the temple and prayed. She vowed that if God gave her a son, she would dedicate him to the Lord. And God did give her a son, Samuel, a great prophet of Israel.

Hannah demonstrated a healthy way to handle this situation.

1. She chose to get up, rather than "lay down" in defeat.

2. She chose to seek healing, rather than revenge.

3. She chose to get better, rather than remain bitter.

Hannah showed us that we can do more than just "go through" hard times, but we can also "grow through" hard times.

Sylvester Williams is the pastor at Solid Rock Christian Church, 16601 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville.