Hey Hannah —
Please help me to understand this whole regifting thing.
You were mocked by the other Mrs., tormented and scorned, because she thought she was better than you. All your years of infertility, all those annual family trips to the temple, all the spousal rivalry. Your infertility was a disgrace in a culture that ranked you by number of offspring. More than sadness and loss of vision, childlessness demoted your worth and marked you for desolation in your society. My first world mind cannot imagine the suffering you endured. How could you stand that?!
So you asked and asked, begged actually, for God to give you the gift of a lifetime. What perseverance you showed, over and over again! To love your husband, when he loved and pitied you, but could not give you your heart’s desire. To endure the other Mrs. and her passel of kids. To stand up to Eli, who accused you of being drunk and making a scene. How dare he say that when you were desperately crying out to God for help?!
And then, our incredible God blessed you with an extraordinary answer to your prayers, the gift of a precious new life. God really did hear you! He intervened with a miracle baby: your boy Samuel, whose name means “heard of God.” The excitement, the wonder, the promised future of parenting — your life would never be the same. That joy makes sense to me.
But from there I have a hard time following you. You took this gift — your one and only, your chance of a lifetime — back to the temple with hubby Elk. This time – with Elk’s approval, no less – you gave the baby back to God?!
First rule of regifting: take a gift that you do not like and give it to someone else. The gift is something you do not want, not the best gift you have ever been given! Second rule of regifting: NEVER give the gift back to the original giver. You so messed up the regifting rules, Hannah.
Yes, when I read 1 Samuel 1 and 2, especially your prayer in chapter two, I start to recognize your God-honoring act of regifting. Mind you, my selfish heart is still stunned at the enormity of your gift to God. What a surprise to note that your beautiful prayer of adoration is not at all focused on what you relinquished, but on who God is and how He cares for His people.
Hannah, thank you for regifting, so that God can use your example to teach me.
Lord, help me to truly understand that every blessing that I have comes from you and belongs to you. In the name of Jesus, your precious, life-saving gift, Amen.
[Originally posted May 2015]