On the International Women’s Day, the Women’s Ministries of South West London Ghana SDA Church undertake various activiites – sermon, drama – with The Patience of Hannah as the theme.
Women’s Ministries Day
Sermon to listen
Hannah was childless after years of marriage to Elkanah, who had another wife with children. Apart from the degrading stigma attached to barrenness in her society, she also experienced constant humiliation and provocation from her rival. She knew it was God the creator who could deliver her from her demise and was very prayerful.
We all need to pray to God about our needs too. But Hannah’s prayer in the temple at Shiloh was not just a normal prayer. It was one of great intensity and sincere outpouring of the heart. She also promised to God saying; LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
When Eli, the high priest saw her in that state, he misjudged her, thinking she was drunk and asked; ‘How long are you going to live as a drunkard?’ Most of us would have found offence in this and react or respond in anger.
However God fearing she was, Hannah did not do that to destroy the prayer. She replied politely; ‘Not so, my lord, I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.’
Eli blessed her with peace and prayed God answers her request. This shows we need patience all the time, especially in our times of need, suffering or trouble.
Story: Once a wife who was also a trader left home for a routine business trip. At the lorry station, the journey was cancelled because their vehicle had developed a fault. So she had to return home in the late hours. On entering the house, she heard two voices in their bedroom, her husband’s and a strange woman’s.
Contrary to what most partners would have done, that is to confront them; she went to sleep in the kitchen for the night. The next morning, this wife went to place her bag in the bedroom and came out to prepare the bath and food for them all. What do you think would have been going on in the minds of the husband and strange woman?
After they all had the breakfast, the stranger hurriedly asked to leave. The wife found from her husband in private that he did not have money to give to the stranger for transport, so she gave him some money for it. She even joined to see her off before leaving them on the way to return home and continue her chores as usual. As soon as the man and the strange woman were left alone, she told him; ‘You are really a wicked man. You have such a humble wife and still want to play around. Do not try to contact me again.’
In fact the wife never asked nor changed her attitude toward her husband. The man was shocked indeed, apologized and most of all became a faithful, loving husband. This is another testimony showing the power of patience.
Back to Hannah’s story, she became pregnant and had a son the following year. Later she fulfilled her vow, dedicating the child Samuel to God.
It is also worth noting that Hannah brought up Samuel with the word of God. So what do we bring our children with in our society where the right has been corrupted with the wrong? Similar conditions prevailed in those days considering the fact that the Eli, the high priest, with whom Samuel lived to serve God, had wayward sons. Just as in building a house, the manner in which the foundation is prepared is crucial to its strength and durability.
Story; A woman took her child to a large toy shop for a treat. She then bought a toy gun for him. The son immediate set it up, pointed it at the mum and released a couple of shots. This caused to mum to be angry and smacked him.
A by-stander who had been watching, asked the woman; ‘Why are you beating him. Of all the variety of toys here, some for learning and playing, you chose to buy a gun for him. Obviously it’s for shooting and he was testing it with you before he find others to use it on.’ The word of God says, train a child the way he should go, and when he grows, he will not depart from it.’
Summing up, we need patience. Hannah had patience and so was able to live with her rival and kids who were provoking her. Do we have patience in our homes, at work, school or wherever we are? With patience we can achieve what may seem impossible.
Hannah had respect, love and was humble so her husband cherished her so much. So as wives, how is our attitude to our husbands? The same message goes to husbands – that you should love your wives and be caring to them. This will make your home peaceful.
In addition, Hannah was a good mother. It is difficult when you have to part with your child; for instance when they are going away for school or marriage. But when it was time to fulfill her promise to God, she did, sending Samuel to live and serve with Eli.
So we should abide by our vows. Personally, I had to leave my child back home to come and support my husband in his ministry. It was not an easy thing to do and I think about them always. However such separations are sometimes necessary. When that happens, we just need to pray for them and keep in touch. Hannah was visiting Samuel every year.
Finally, when Hannah was childless and was going to pray, she was sad but she returned with a happy face and hope knowing God had heard and will answer her, hence the meaning of Samuel as a name. Thus when we pray we should have faith and God will bless us in his own time.
Prayer session; let us pray -
- for patience, humility, respect and love
- to have faith and hope when we carry our troubles to God in prayer
- to be faithful to fulfill our vows