Hannah was a victim of bullying. She was accused of being less than a real woman because she could not have children, that she was under God’s curse for some hidden sin she had committed. She was also a victim of the culture of her time that allowed men to have more than one wife – even though God had always shown from the time of Adam and Eve that marriage was meant to be between one woman and one man only. Her bully was her husband’s other wife, who had many children with their husband. This other wife humiliated Hannah privately and publicly to the point that she would break down in tears.
Hannah reacted to bullying by faith, not by flesh. She chose to reason with God, and her faith led her to follow these steps:
1. Instead of accepting the lie, she chose to believe that it was not God’s will for her to suffer this humiliation. Many women think that they are suffering because God is punishing them, or because He doesn’t want to change their lives. They don’t realize that they are accepting lies, and not fighting for the truth.
2. Because she chose to believe God wanted her life to be better, she chose to focus on Him, and not on her bully. A strong woman ignores the threats of weak people. Every bully likes to appear strong, but in reality, they are weak. Bullies are nothing compared to God and nothing compared to a woman who is determined to use her faith. Strong women don’t become intimidated, their fight is spiritual, not physical.
3. Her focus was so specific and intense, that she didn’t even tell her husband, nor the high priest, and especially not her rival, about the faith she had for a miracle. Weak women follow their emotional impulses to tell everyone about their opinions and thoughts, and often become targets of gossip and more humiliation. Strong women know when to keep the treasure of their faith private, between them and God. They know that in time, the fruit of their faith will be evident and they are willing to wait.
4. She cried out to God with all her heart, soul, mind and strength. She wasn’t afraid of what others thought, she wanted to connect with God. Though many women come to church, weak women worry about appearing spiritual, but strong women care about being sincere. Sometimes using your faith makes you look crazy, but if you care more about how God sees you, He will take care of how other people see you. A strong woman is hungry for God and won’t let anything stop her from finding Him.
5. She was prepared to sacrifice. Her desire to be blessed wasn’t just for herself. She wanted God to be honored through the miracle of a baby. And so she was willing to return to God the precious treasure that she desired, so everyone could see the glory of God in her life. Weak women pray for answers to their prayers with selfish motives. They pray for blessings and then the blessings become their idols – they love the blessings more than God. A strong woman’s heart is set on honoring God first, knowing that her Father will keep His promise to give her an abundant life. This is the hardest kind of discipline: to control our selfish desires and to put God first in everything, even to the point of sacrifice.
6. She kept her word and her vow to God. When Samuel was three or four years old she took him to the tabernacle to be adopted by the high priest and to grow up in the presence of God. She would never live with her baby again – but she believed that God Himself, who dwelt in the Holy of Holies, would bless and protect Samuel better than she could. She never stopped loving Samuel and brought him new clothes that she had sewn every year, but she released him into God’s hands. Strong women know how to keep their vows, how to let go, and allow God to do what they cannot do for themselves.
What was the result of the strength of Hannah’s faith? She was blessed with five more children that she could love and keep! Samuel, the sacrificed baby, grew to be the great and last judge of Israel, and also a great prophet of God who anointed both King Saul, and King David. God took care of her bully without needing to argue or pay any attention to her. She was honored far more than her rival, and her faith blesses the whole world, even today.