Did he recognize her, the mother who prayed a heartfelt prayer at the doorpost of the temple, crying out to the Lord. She looked different, for misery and grief look a lot different than fulfilled and determined. But there was no mistaking her once she began speaking, “. . . I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” (I Sam. 1:26-28).
A few years earlier Hannah had cried out to the Lord for a male child. She was so tired of her husband’s other wife Peninnah having sons and daughters while her womb was closed. God heard Hannah’s prayer and blessed her with her heart’s desire, a boy. She named Him Samuel.
Yes, Samuel was an answer to a prayer but that prayer included a vow. “O Lord of host, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, . . .” (I Sam. 1:11).
I wonder how often she thought of those words. Did she get caught up in preparing for the long awaited baby that she forgot them or did they sweep across her mind daily? Either way, she honored the Lord and kept her word.
The time came when the boy was weaned and old enough to be taken to the temple. As Peninnah rounded up her sons and daughters to make the trip she probably didn’t even notice Hannah’s tears that fell while gathering items and placing them in a bag for her son—clothes, his favorite toy, maybe his cup, and of course his favorite blanket.
They rose early to make the yearly trip to Shiloh, to worship and sacrifice at the temple of the Lord. Once there Hannah offered a bull but she was not finished. Looking through the crowd she spotted him, Eli, the priest who had seen her a few years earlier as she cried out to the Lord. It was time to make the ultimate sacrifice, her son Samuel.
As I reflect on this story so close to Mother’s Day, I’m reminded of a very important word Hannah used when speaking to Eli. She used the word lent, “. . . he shall be lent to the Lord.” She knew the safest place her child could possibly be was with the Lord.
As mothers, we need to do as Hannah did—no we don’t need to leave our children physically, but in our hearts we do need to leave them with the Lord. It’s our ultimate sacrifice for the ultimate gifts given to us.
Why? Because there’s no safer place for our children than in God’s will.