Reading: 1 Samuel 1: 1-21
We should be touched by the sadness of Hannah. In the first chapter of the 1st Book of Samuel we find her in tears. She wanted to be a mother, but no children had come. It must have seemed to her as if she was a failure. What kind of wife was she, childless as she was? Did she have any value? Did her husband really love her as he continued to say he did?
It is normal and healthy for a person to want to feel useful
The book Secrets of Heaven talks about the life in heaven: that heaven is a kingdom of uses (§ 997). In that place of mutual love, angels have no greater desire than to do something worthwhile and productive. The Lord Himself gives angels that work. As long as they have love, they will be allowed to be truly productive, and the value they have to their fellow angels will be clear.
In this world, gaining a sense of worth can be more difficult
We, like Hannah, may wonder whether our lives mean as much as we sense they should. People often describe how comforting and even cleansing it can be to tell their heartaches to another person. This is often a vital step toward emotional and spiritual health. But no conversation with a person in this world can substitute for a heart-felt conversation with the Lord Himself.
Picture Hannah there in the tabernacle of Lord, tears rolling down her cheeks
She mouthed the deepest feelings of her heart, but no sound came out. These words were for the Lord alone.
A little later in Secrets of Heaven we find a teaching about the value of “declaring His wisdom and power, and so confessing and acknowledging Him from the heart” (§ 1422: 2). This number goes on to say that “people who do so are most certainly blessed by the Lord, that is, they are gifted with those things which constitute blessing.”
Hannah’s immediate blessing came from the Lord through the mouth of Eli the priest. His words to her were,“Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.” An even greater blessing came when her son Samuel was born. Samuel was a child born in this natural world. He was the offspring of Hannah’s heart-felt desire for usefulness.
There is also such a thing as spiritual offspring
(see Conjugial Love 65 and 116). These are the everyday effects of any heart that is filled with love. For example, something as simple as a smile can be a powerful support another person in need. That smile is the offspring of a loving heart.
This is what the story of Hannah’s prayer is really all about: it is about sharing with the Lord the extent of the things we are feeling; it is about prayerfully asking for His leadership so that, in ways large and small, we can gain the joy of knowing that because of Him, we have real value and are genuinely useful.
Rev. Garry Walsh is pastor of the New Church of Phoenix. Learn more at www.newchurchofphoenix.org.