22 November 20211 Samuel 1:1-20
So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. (v. 7)
I was always the new kid at school because my father moved around a lot with his job – he worked in professional football. Simply because I was the new kid, I was frequently told that I was stupid, a dullard or the odd one out. The other kids who had been there for longer had established groups of friends and didn’t really want an outsider. I also had other, even more unpleasant things said and done to me. Today we would call it bullying and it would be dealt with. Back then I simply kept quiet and got on with my life in my own way, but it did bring me to tears at times.
Hannah is experiencing bullying from Peninnah simply because she has no children and Peninnah has several to call her own. Crying, Hannah goes to the only place where she feels her cries for help may be heard, and is met by a rather antagonistic Eli, the priest, who accuses her falsely of being drunk – in a way, this is another form of bullying.
When he finally hears her story and realises the depths of her pain he blesses her and adds his own prayer that God will hear her plea and grant what she so desperately wishes.
How easy it is to judge people from the outside. We go by what we can see or hear (or even smell) without taking the time to listen and really hear what is going on in their lives and how they have ended up in the situation we meet them in.
The story in Samuel has a happy ending with Hannah becoming pregnant and giving birth to Samuel.
How many people’s stories do not have a happy ending simply because they are not heard? Instead they are judged on what others think they know about them without checking the facts.
- · Have you ever been bullied? Have you asked God to forgive your tormentors and to forgive you for allowing them to control your life? This may be a good time to start that road to freedom and restoration.
- · How do you assess someone you have just met? By their looks, their accent, their attitude? How prepared are you to get to know them better? What’s stopping you?
Lord of all time and space you call us to be community, to be family and yet our own prejudice and judgement frequently gets in the way. Help us to view others with your eyes of compassion, grace and love and enable us to listen to their story and share our own openly and without fear. Amen.