1 Samuel 1:6 (NKJV)
“And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb.”
Poor Hannah! She struggled with childlessness; she endured a long period of infertility before finally having children. While she was waiting, Peninnah provoked her and made her miserable (most likely by showing off).
I always thought to myself Poor Hannah! When I come across her story, until I found myself in a similar situation and realized that Hannah wasn’t to be pitied, I was supposed to learn from her story.
There is a pastor in the church where I fellowship currently that will always say during testimony time that “when God is blessing your neighbor, He is in your neighborhood!” He would say that to encourage us to be happy for others when they testify, that if God was blessing people around us, then it will be our turn in no time.
Imagine Hannah hearing that and hoping it will be her turn every time Peninnah conceived and brought forth a child but then it never was her turn, she would have to wait a long time. We know Peninnah had more than one child, if Hannah was happy for her the first time, her happiness would have turned to sorrow and a whole lot of other emotions by the time Peninnah conceived more children.
Unlike Hannah, I am not struggling with childlessness but I have specific prayer points that have gone long unanswered. I trained my heart to rejoice with the people around me even if they get what I’ve been praying for and honestly, the people around me have been blessed! Blessings upon blessings have surrounded me! And I have rejoiced with others but recently I’ve been provoked and I feel miserable.
I’ve found myself in a situation where though I want to be happy for others, I just don’t have it in me anymore, I’d rather others were happy for me for a change!.
Some people deliberately take on the role of Peninnah in our lives; they are not sensitive enough to contain their joy when they are blessed and in the company of a friend that is still in his/her waiting season, they talk endlessly about their blessings and show off every chance they get, they even imply that something might be wrong with you that’s why you aren’t blessed yet. Some unknowingly take on the role of Peninnah as well. Either ways, they allow their blessings to become a tool in the hands of the enemy to torment you.
I have encountered my fair share of Peninnahs, family and friends that aren’t sensitive to my plight, whose words and actions have severely provoked me and made me feel miserable, leading me to question everything I believe in. I’m sure you have some Peninnah’s around you too (or maybe you’re even the Peninnah in someone’s story, if this is the case, please change.)
The focus of this write up isn’t Peninnah and her foolishness but about Hannah and how she handled her grief over her childlessness. Peninnah kept being Peninnah but Hannah didn’t continue being Hannah, a day came that even though she heard Peninnah’s taunts, she ignored what was said to her/ been done to her and went over to the tabernacle to pray. Peninnah ended up pushing Hannah into the out stretched arms of God’s waiting embrace. Thank God for Peninnah!
1 Samuel 1:10 (NKJV)
And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.
Am I saying we should pray when we find ourselves in a similar situation?
I am saying turn to God, draw nearer to Him and yes pray, never ever stop praying especially when you are provoked and feel miserable because of what is lacking/missing in your life.
How am I dealing with all the emotions I’m feeling lately? I take my own advice, I have drawn nearer to God (I pray and tell God exactly how I’m feeling and ask for His help), I have trained my eyes to see Him as an ally and not an enemy regardless of what He allows or doesn’t allow in my life, I know that He is teaching me and developing my faith during these difficult times in my life and if He answered Hannah, I know He will come through for me as well.
As I round up this write up, I want you to go on in your waiting season with the knowledge that you are loved by God and you can trust Him to turn everything you are going through for good in the end.