1 Samuel 2:1 Then Hannah prayed and said:
“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
in the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.
God works with imperfect people and imperfect circumstances. Hannah is often lifted up as a paragon of faith and dedication, but she was just as human as we are. It seems clear that the enemies she speaks of here at least include Penninah, her husband’s other wife. Her distress all along was as much over her status as a barren woman as it was over wanting to raise a child. It’s not that she didn’t love Samuel, but she was just as self-centered as we are. This is not to put her down, but to point out what I said at first: God works with what is available. Some years ago I heard it said that God isn’t looking for ability, He’s looking for availability. I have also heard it said that He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Those can seem like trite truisms, but they are far from it. The bigger you think you are, the harder it will be for God to use you. Jesus put it this way: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:25) The rich don’t see their need of God, and so aren’t likely to seek and receive salvation. They are far more likely to feel like God needs them, rather than the other way around! God is looking for people like the repentant tax collector that Jesus talked about. “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” (Luke 18:13) Hannah gave her son to God, and he was mightily used and she was greatly blessed as a result. Her motives weren’t perfect, but God accepted them and it all ended up being vitally important in His plan of salvation, since Samuel anointed David who was the progenitor of the Christ. We aren’t to keep picking at ourselves, but rather give ourselves to God as we are, and allow Him to clean us up.
Once again I am reminded of my father’s saying, “Give all you know of yourself to all you know of Christ. The more I know of myself, the less worthy I understand I am! And that makes God’s grace all the more amazing, because He does use me to bless others and bring glory to Himself. There was a time in my life when I was so prideful that I thought any church into which I walked was blessed indeed. That’s wrong on so many levels I can’t even name them all! When God gave me a glimpse of my heart after that I was absolutely devastated, but God knew I was a stinker to begin with! He exercised grace and patience to a degree I can’t measure, and here I am almost exactly 50 years later, still growing and still stumbling occasionally, but deeply grateful. God can use anyone!
Father, thank You for this insight and this reminder. I had never thought of how self-centered Hannah was. I ask You to use me to open other people’s eyes to how You want to use them, faults and all, so that we may be a willing, grateful people, fully available and useful to You, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!