As I’ve been going through 1 Samuel, I wanted to write out a few thoughts along the journey. I find it inconceivable to consider what it would have been like for Elkanah to have 2 wives, Hannah and Peninnah. The dynamics of a marriage are already challenging without adding another to the mix! But as I try to see through the eyes of Hannah, it’s even more difficult because she felt “inconceivable”. Her rival had several children, and with the discovery, process and birth of each one the internal pressure (desire for her own, question over why she was barren, guilt over speculations/anger at God, envy, shame) would be bad enough. But to live in a society that magnified each of those and marked the women who were barren added to the pressure externally. Did she feel hidden or abandoned by God? Was He deaf to her passionate cries, blind to her hot, stinging tears, mean for withholding her deepest desire? There was a loneliness and isolation she experienced that even Elkanah, who loved her deeply, couldn’t even touch. A place only God could minister to, and a place of sweet fellowship with Him.
These elements – pressure, heat, hiddenness – over time is what it takes to form a beautiful diamond. (“The formation of natural diamonds requires very high temperatures and pressures. These conditions occur in limited zones of Earth’s mantleabout 90 miles below the surface. This critical temperature-pressure environment for diamond formation and stability is not present globally.” Geology.com) The standing under pressure is what creates the diamond’s durability – hardest of all gemstones. And increases its value.
I love Hannah’s example. It speaks volumes to me as I encounter times of pressure (internal/external), heat, isolation and wondering how long? Her life of faithfulness and choices brought forth a great prophet in her son and influenced an entire nation.
May the testimony of Hannah also be reflected in my life, Lord. May the light rays of Your faithfulness and goodness shine through the facets of my life and draw attention to You alone, for the display of Your glory.