Hannah’s inability to conceive posed more than one problem. We get the sense that much of her desperation involves longing for a child to love and to nurture. Added to that, men were allowed to divorce women for failing to bear a child, leaving them without the security of a husband, with very few options for providing for themselves, and without any chance for remarrying. Even though we’re told her husband loved her, that must have still been in the back of her mind. And then there is her husband’s other wife who is mercilessly cruel.
To Hannah, her only hope for a better future was to have a male child, male being the only gender eligible for an inheritance. In fact, she is so desperate, she tries to bargain, promising that if she is given a child, she will offer him back to the service of God. Imagine wanting something so badly, you’re willing to give it back if only you can have it for a moment.
Think of at least one of the gifts God has given you. How might you offer that gift back to God? In what ways can you use your talent or gifts imaginatively, expressively, or creatively? Offer a prayer of thanksgiving for those prayers that God has answered.