“And because the LORD had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.” – I Samuel 1:6-7 NIV

In my faith walk with Christ I have discovered the unseen enemy of the soul that opposes me in walking by faith and prohibits me from desiring to please God by how I act and live. The enemy I am referring to is not as obvious as one may think, like the devil, but one more obscure but equally effective in deceiving and dissuading me to live contrary to what God requires of me. That enemy are the thoughts and emotions of my soul that wrestle against me for my devotion to Christ and adherence to His commands. The Apostle Paul teaches it this way in the book of Ephesians by saying that our struggle is not against flesh and blood (other people), but against dark forces in this world and spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. In the book of Romans it is the war between the flesh and the Spirit.

Hannah was experiencing conflict with Peninah, whom the bible introduces as her rival in chapter 1 of 1 Samuel, but Hannah’s greater conflict was within herself regarding her desires to be a mother and bear children. her greater conflict of her desire to experience fulfillment in motherhood was only perpetuated and exacerbated by Peninnah’s taunting that tormented Hannah. Behind the scenes we see God allowing this to happen year after year to the point Hannah no longer eats. What makes it even worse is that it happens at church (in the house of God). In verse 9 of 1 Samuel chapter 1, Hannah makes a bold step of faith that changes her disposition, her posture and eventually the reality of the condition of her current circumstances. Hannah stood up, as the bible records it, and goes with a deliberate intention to the house of God to pray. Despite her torment, the taunting of her rival and the tumultuous circumstances that happened year after year, Hannah is now taking charge and action of her life to make it better!

What I like most about this story is the insight gained from Hannah’s prayer. If you inspect it closely you will notice at no time does she mention Peninnah. Though year after year she was taunted by her rival, when Hannah prays she remains focused on her desire (dream) and the current state of her inner being. This tells me that although Hannah was attacked by her rival, she never internalized the source of her external conflict. Instead Hannah focused on the deep passion within her that would bring her life, fulfillment and contentment. Her act of surrender began with not reacting to Peninnah and coming to God in prayer and concluded with giving back to God what she desired from Him. God has put a desire, dream or vision within each of us He invites us to offer back to Him with a willing spirit to allow Him to bless us and bring to fulfillment what He deposited in us.

May God prompt you to surrender to His will in how you cope with and overcome your trials and come to Him in prayer with your feelings, dreams and desires to experience the fulfillment of His relationship with you and what He deposits within you to bless you and others.

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