Read 1 Samuel 1:6-8

Thought for the Day: The words of others do not need to define me.

(Peninnah) taunted (Hannah) cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that God had not given her children. This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite. (I Samuel 1:6-8; The Message)

When I was a freshman in high school, there were some people who said some hurtful things about me that led to my quitting the basketball team. At the time, I was on the freshman team, but the high school varsity coach heard what had been said. He called me into his office and lovingly confronted me. He told me what he had heard and how he also heard I wasn’t going to play basketball anymore. He went on to say that he had learned to never let the negative words that others say define him. By the end of our conversation, I agreed to stay on the team, and that day I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life.

The Bible tells us that Hannah was not able to have children. To make matters worse, she lived in a time when she was one of two wives. Her husband was named Elkanah, and the other wife was named Penninah. Penninah ridiculed Hannah often and doubled down whenever she went to the temple to pray. The words that were said to Hannah cut her so deeply that she didn’t want to eat.

However, Hannah still continued to go to the temple no matter what cruel words were spoken. Instead of being defined by something in her life that caused her great pain, she kept moving forward and continued to seek God in prayer. In the end, Hannah did have a son (Samuel) who became Israel’s last Judge. She also teaches us a valuable lesson. We may have a Penninah who has said things to us that hurt us. However, when we turn our focus towards God, we discover that with His help we can face every obstacle in our life no matter how great it is!

In Christ,

Pastor Stan (and David)

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