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A woman of child-bearing age who couldn't get pregnant in biblical...

A woman of child-bearing age who couldn't get pregnant in biblical times is like a person today who is able to work but can't find a job. Through no fault of their own, each loses their place in society and is at risk for losing their sense of self-worth.

Hannah went through terrible times until she finally asked for help. The story of how God helped Hannah with her troubles gives hope to those facing the anxiety of unemployment.

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1 Samuel (1:4-20)

Poor Hannah! She wants a baby desperately, and yet she can't conceive. Her husbands other wife, Peninnah, has plenty of sons and daughters. As members of the same household, surely Hannah is expected to help care for the children. What a bitter pill to swallow.

Can you imagine how Hannah must feel? Surrounded by diapers and the noise of children, every day is a reminder of her total failure as a wife and as a member of society. And yet, as she witnesses first steps, wipes runny noses and comforts crying babies how could she not love these living symbols of her private humiliation? Hannah's pain must be excruciating.

It gets worse. Every year, when the family goes to Shiloh to make sacrifice to the LORD, her rival, Peninnah, makes a point of Hannah's barrenness, provoking and irritating her mercilessly. And even though Elkanah, their husband, gives her extra food, Hannah becomes so upset she can't even eat.

Through it all, Hannah's husband has been loving and supportive even though society gives him the right to divorce a barren wife. Still, he doesn't understand why she keeps crying and is always so sad. And why doesn't she eat anything? Isn't his love better than ten sons?

Hannah just shakes her head. She loves her husband deeply. But it isn't the same.

The years of ridicule, the stress and anxiety, even the kindness, become too much to bear. Everything seems so hopeless. In tears, Hannah leaves, anxious and distraught. Who wouldn't be in such a situation?

Finding herself at the temple, Hannah begins to pray. Usually people pray out loud at the temple but this time Hannah doesn't. Not tonight. Her prayer is too painful; her heart too troubled, her body too ashamed. Her voice is silent but her mouth moves quickly as Hannah makes a promise to the LORD. If he will grant her prayer she will give the LORD her son to serve him all the days of his life.

When Eli the priest sees Hannah is praying silently, he thinks she must be drunk. Hannah sighs; she has enough problems already! How ironic to think she's been drinking in alcohol when she can't even eat. No, she tells Eli, she's so anxious and distraught that she's been pouring out her soul to the LORD.

Eli tells her not to worry; God has heard her prayer. Relieved, Hannah gives thanks. On the way back, she realizes she's hungry for the first time in a long time. After eating, she can feel the tension is gone from her face.

Just as Eli promised, Hannah does become pregnant and has a son. She names him Samuel, which means I have asked for him from the Lord.

Help for Hannah

Just like Hannah, sometimes we keep our worries to ourselves especially when those worries hurt. It hurt Hannah that she couldn't fulfill her duty to herself as a woman, as a wife and as a member of society. She didn't want to add to her husbands worries, and so they remained bottled up inside.

It can hurt when you lose a job. Like Hannah, it can feel like you don't count anymore in society, or you're not keeping up your end of the bargain with your spouse or partner. If "who you are" is closely tied to what you do your self-worth could feel like it's starting to slip away.

It only takes a few cruel Peninnah's provoking you with all the reasons why you'll never get a job, and if you don't get responses from positions you apply for, your confidence can go downhill fast. And all day, every day, you see people who are employed. People with jobs. It's enough to make you anxious and distraught.

Who wouldn't be in such a situation?

In Hannah's case, she knew she'd reached the end of her rope. She turned to God and asked for his help to become pregnant and have a son. But God helped her in more ways than she had asked for. Not only did he answer her prayer he immediately took away the terrible stress that had plagued her for so long.

In fact, her anxiety is the very thing that caught Elis' attention and caused their conversation. By talking with him, at last Hannah connected with another person about her worries. When Eli shared with Hannah that her prayer would be answered, she was finally able to relax and eat.

Don't wait until you're at the end of your rope. Rather than keeping your job search worries to yourself, turn to God and ask for his help.Remember how God helped Hannah in two ways, and also ask for help from those around you -those with the expertise to help you solve the problems you face.

Whether you need help with career advice, education or emotional support,experts can share their knowledge with you and help remove your stress and anxiety. You don't need to wait until you are distraught; like Eli, help is there when you ask.

The name Samuel means: I asked for him from the LORD. Remember Hannah, Eli and Samuel, and ask for help from the LORD and from those around you.

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Contributing Sources

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Posted in Churches/Faith/Religion Post Date 06/03/2017


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