7 Minute Read

Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Samuel 1:1–2:21
John 5:1-23
Psalm 105:37-45
Proverbs 14:28-29

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

1 Samuel 1:7 (CSB): “Year after year, when she went up to the Lord’s house, her rival taunted her in this way. Hannah would weep and would not eat.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

I realize that the verse I have chosen for today is a bit unusual. But let me tell you why I chose it. But, let’s once again read the verse and try to feel the weight of the emotions.

1 Samuel 1:7 (CSB): “Year after year, when she went up to the Lord’s house, her rival taunted her in this way. Hannah would weep and would not eat.”

If all we had was 1 Samuel 1:7, we could realize that a lady named Hannah was broken over something. And, in her brokenness, she was being taunted by someone who was her “rival.” What’s going on?!

The root issue was that Hannah could not have children. Her body wouldn’t allow her to carry a baby in her womb and then in her arms.

How did this make her feel? We are told that when she went to the Lord’s house, she “would weep and would not eat.”

To further understand her grief, all we need to do is listen to the ladies among us who have never been able to have children. Listen as they tell you how they feel like their body has failed them and that they will never enjoy the pleasures of motherhood. If it’s appropriate, ask a lady who lost a child at birth how she is fairing due to that trauma. Listen to the mom whose children have rejected the Lord and have cut off ties with her. In fact, if the data is accurate, there is probably at least one woman sitting in your church services that is gripped with guilt because she privately had an abortion many years earlier.

And then there is the national holiday (not a church holiday) called Mother’s Day. On this day, women will show up to the place of worship, afraid of how their hearts will be hurt. Will the ladies who have been able to have babies be asked to stand as she remains seated – alone? Will she be recognized as a mom even though she feels like a failure because of how her children are living? Will her church, the place that is supposed to be for instruction and healing, be a place where she leaves wounded?

To be sure, we need to celebrate mothers. It’s a foregone conclusion that we wouldn’t be alive without the presence of our mom. And many ladies have been blessed with children who call them “mom.” The Lord has graciously given so many of us a godly mother who was such a vital force for good in helping us to do well in life.

So, it is periodically appropriate that we recognize and encourage people in their various roles. It is right that we encourage people to glorify God in their roles as they also seek to be a blessing to others. 

Yet, we need to be so careful how we do what we do. It is quite possible that some will come to church on Mother’s Day and leave wounded. So, let’s work toward cultivating an atmosphere at our churches that seeks to “give honor to whom honor is due” (Romans 13:7) without actively dishonoring and harming others in the process.

And by all means, whatever is allowed to take place in our worship services, don’t let it take away the spotlight from Jesus. It is Him who we have shown up to worship, not each other.

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash