• Karen Pennington

An Upgrade for Misery

Updated: May 10

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy." -Psalm 30:19



When desperation and weeping sadness were all she had to give, she gave them to God. Soaking the altar with her tears, she poured out her anguish with such passionate silence that the priest thought her to be drunk. The priest blessed her and dismissed her, "And the LORD remembered her (I Samuel 1:19)."


Within time Hannah gave birth to that son whom she had desired for so long, whose absence had been the cause of her previous suffering. It was as if she had entered God's store of grace and traded in her misery in exchange for her heart's greatest desire. Yet she was not done giving to God.


After time Hannah returned to the house of worship, once again to offer up the only thing she had to give.


This time it was her only son, Samuel. Having promised to dedicate his life to the LORD for all his days, she released the young child into the custody of the high priest for purposes of complete service to God.


This time she made her offering joyfully. And how could a woman have such a mindset about letting go of the one thing thing she always longed to have and enjoy for herself? Perhaps it was because she had learned the great secret that a person can never outgive God. Perhaps she had learned that when she truly left her everything at the altar, whether it was her tears or her legacy, God would give more and better things back. Hannah got another upgrade. Not only did the LORD bless her once barren womb with five more children. That child whom she had given over to the service of God grew up to be the great prophet Samuel, whom God chose to usher in the time of Israel's kings and to anoint the ruling family whose descendent would span down to Jesus Christ himself. When Hannah gave her all, an entire nation profited.


God doesn't ask for flawlessness that we cannot give or riches that we do not have. God does not require us to reach special achievement that we could never attain or use strength that we do not possess. We are simply called to bring everything we have, good and bad. It is as if we in our poverty are called to bring our old, broken down car into a dealership as an even trade for the best, most valuable model that there is. When we trade it all in, God will always give back far more in exchange.

I Samuel 1-2

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