My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. 1 Samuel 2:1
After a painful minor surgery on my left eye, my doctor recommended a vision test. With confidence, I covered my right eye and read each line on the chart with ease. Covering my left eye, I gasped. How could I not realize I’d been so blind?
While adjusting to new glasses and renewed vision, I thought of how daily trials often caused me to be spiritually nearsighted. Focusing only on what I could see up-close—my pain and ever-changing circumstances—I became blind to the faithfulness of my eternal and unchanging God. With such a limited perspective, hope became an unattainable blur.
First Samuel 1 tells the story of another woman who failed to recognize God’s trustworthiness while focusing on her current anguish, uncertainty, and loss. For years, Hannah had endured childlessness and endless torment from Peninnah, the other wife of her husband Elkanah. Hannah’s husband adored her, but contentment evaded her. One day, she prayed with bitter honesty. When Eli the priest questioned her, she explained her situation. As she left, he prayed that God would grant her request (1 Samuel 1:17). Though Hannah’s situation didn’t change immediately, she walked away with confident hope (v. 18).
Her prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1–2 reveals a shift in Hannah’s focus. Even before her circumstances improved, Hannah’s renewed vision changed her perspective and her attitude. She rejoiced in the ongoing presence of God—her Rock and everlasting hope.
How will focusing on God’s unchanging nature instead of your circumstances give you greater hope? Where are you currently struggling with spiritual nearsightedness?
God, please renew my vision so I can focus on Your constant presence and live with an eternal perspective in all circumstances.
As 1 Samuel opens, it’s the end of the time of the judges, but it’s not yet the time of kings. Bridging that gap will be Samuel, the son who would be born to Hannah after her season of prayer at the tabernacle in Shiloh (1:9–20). Samuel’s role in the transition from judges to kings would include the fact that he’s the last of the judges and the first of the prophets. As a prophet, he’d be responsible for anointing Israel’s first two kings: Saul, the kind of king the people wanted (10:17–24); and David, a man after God’s own heart (13:14).