I have a bad cold. It started the day after Christmas and I think it gets worse every day! My throat is sore, my nose is stuffed up and hurts, and then my nose will run when I lay down. I have to breathe through my mouth which makes my lips dry and sore and my chest is sore from coughing! I don’t like having this cold and I can’t wait for it to finish the course and let me go! I am having a bad day! Bad days come to us all. If it isn’t a cold virus it will be a car that won’t start, or a child home sick, or a boss that is grouchy, or a hundred other things that happen to us in life that seems to drag us down. How are we to cope with life’s little annoyances?
Now there was a certain man from Ramathaim-zophim from the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
Now this man would go up from his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests to the LORD there. When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters; but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the LORD had closed her womb. Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat. Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”
Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 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 son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”
Now it came about, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli was watching her mouth. As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. Then Eli said to her, “How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you.” But Hannah replied, “No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD. “Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation.” Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.” She said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. 1 Samuel 1:1-18, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
Hannah was having a bad day every time she had to go to the Temple with her husband and his other wife and family. I can just see it now, Hannah is nice and loved by her husband but has no child. Notice who was in charge of her womb, it is the Lord who closed it and made her infertile. We sometimes forget who is in charge of birth control and often think that we are the ones who conceive a child but God is with us in that conception moment and it is up to Him whether a woman gets pregnant or not. To be a barren woman in Biblical times was to be cursed. The society that centered around the family thought that if you couldn’t have children there was something wrong with you, that God had not blessed you with children therefore God must hold something against you and a barren woman was often mocked and made fun of. Think of others the Bible tells us about who could not have children; one couple was Sarah and Abraham (Genesis 18). Hannah was certainly having a bad day when faced with the taunts of her husband’s other wife. I can’t even imagine how she would feel but I do know what it is like to have problems like the cold I suffer from right now. I love how Hannah handles her situation. She cries out to the Lord in prayer spoken so softly that the priest thought she was drunk and told her to lay off the wine! Poor Hannah! Yet she realizes that the priest has made a mistake in his analysis of her and she stands up to him and replies that she has not been drinking wine. She explains to the priest that she is under great distress for not being capable of having a child. She was a sorrowful woman and she took her sorrow to the Lord God of Heaven. That is what I need to do too, I need to talk to God about this cold and let Him know how burdensome this cold has become and ask Him to take this burden off my shoulders. It was given to me by another and I sure don’t want to pass this cold to someone else so I need to stay away from people until I am feeling better and I will use this time to ask God for healing and talk to Him about many things that are on my mind as I lay in my bed. That is how we should handle a bad day!
Prayer is powerful because it is a conversation with the God of Heaven! He hears our voice because we belong to Jesus and that gives us special attention with God (John 14:16-31). So next time you are having a bad day remember how Hannah resolved her sorrow, she prayed and when you read the rest of her story you will find that God heard her prayer, answered it, and her son Samuel was born. He was a mighty prophet of God. He went on to do some awesome things that you can learn about in First and Second Samuel.
Until next time…Katherine