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Entrusting children to God: Lessons of biblical motherhood from Hannah

“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted my petition made to Him. Therefore I have given him to the Lord, as long as he lives he is given to the Lord.” -1 Samuel 1:28

These are Hannah’s words as she brings her young son, Samuel, to Eli the priest and leaves him there to be raised in the temple.

Hannah knew the anguish of being a barren Jewish woman. She wanted nothing more than a son. She poured out her soul to the Lord and he gave her a son. She named him Samuel meaning, “heard of God.” He was her delight, her gift.

And after he was weaned, in obedience to God, she took him and released him to God.

As a mother of three, I have learned the greatest gift a mother can give to a child is to entrust them to the Lord. God has a path for every child, and part of our role as mothers is to empower them to follow it. The question becomes whether we will have the faith to do so.

I always prayed for my children. From the point of conception and through each stage, I would dedicate them to God. But the first time I remember really being confronted with “releasing one to the Lord” was when my oldest, at 15 years old, was asked to travel to Kenya on a construction mission trip.

The team consisted of my son, two other teens and one adult. They would be camping in the jungles and out alone in villages. I had to entrust him to God’s plan. He wouldn’t be in my care, let alone on my side of the world.

I knew he should go but it was so hard to let him go. How could I have known that the trip would be life-changing for him and even would define his life career and calling to combine construction and ministry? His faith became more his own as he adopted a verse for the trip, Joshua 1: 9, which would stay with him in every stage of his life.

I didn’t know. But God did.

With each of my children, my husband and I dreamed and tried to imagine what they would do with their lives. With each child, there have been specific times of letting them go to be on mission around the world, to set educational goals, to choose life mates, to become church planters, to listen to how God is directing their lives and not me and it isn’t always easy, especially when it takes them away from me or in a direction unfamiliar to my experience.

As I look now at each of my adult children, I can see how trusting God with them helped them become Christ followers who have a well-defined relationship with him. They’ve turned into children who teach this mom so much about what it is to trust him.

So how could Hannah have the faith to trust God with Samuel? How can any parent?

  1. Hannah knew God and knew his character. When we read her prayers in the first two chapters of 1 Samuel, we hear her heart. She knows him as Lord, as God Almighty, as the giver of all gifts. She worships him, knowing who he is and who she is in his presence.
  2. Hannah seeks God honestly and humbly in prayer. Her prayers are fervent; nothing is left unsaid. She describes her prayer as pouring out her soul in grief and great anguish. And when she is finished praying, she leaves in peace.
  3. Hannah demonstrates her faith through obedience, even when it means an extreme personal sacrifice. She has longed for this child, and she loves him as only a mother can love a child. But her love for God is greater and she shows it by letting go of Samuel.
  4. Hannah trusts God and that his plan for Samuel is better than her way or her plan. She may not understand it but she trusted it. Through her life she had learned to wait on the Lord and trust in his sovereignty.
  5. Hannah praises God in all circumstances. The 2nd chapter is her prayer right after leaving her son. How must she have felt on that trip back home without him? And yet, we hear her say, “My heart exults and triumphs in the Lord; my strength is lifted up in the Lord ... There is none holy like the Lord, there is none besides You; there is no rock like our God.”

When Hannah took her 3-year-old son to the temple to entrust him to God, she could have never known God’s plan for Samuel. The Scripture says, “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and let none of his words fall to the ground ... And Samuel’s word came to all Israel” (1 Samuel 3:19).

God uses Samuel to change a nation – a nation! Samuel has a great faith and is an obedient servant. He first saw faith lived out through his mother as she taught him not only through her words but more importantly, through her obedient action of letting him go.

Jane Ann Crowson is the director of the Buckner Family Hope Center in Longview, Texas.


Jeanette Moore Holt says:
Thank you for sharing your wisdom and knowledge and understanding. In reference to Hannah.
Carmen Steward says:
Thank you for sharing such a fruitful message. I needed to read this today!
Estella Howard says:
Had to research Hannah. I thank God for this indepth and breif study. My heart was touched. May God continue to bless all that reads this 🙏
Breezy says:
God is good and he listens to those who seek him diligently. I love this story, and can relate in my own life. I want the courage and strength of Hannah, because I know my own children mean so much to me, I cannot fathom them not being next to me everyday. Hannah gave so much, and the Lord gave Samuel a special role in His kingdom.
Edward Reeves says:
This is a beautiful sermon on religion, family, and love! My family and I read sermons from your blog on a regular basis!
Gina Benson says:
such a beautiful message! I am blessed, I know that I'm in a situation that I had so much question to it, but reading this message gives me hope! hope of knowing that God is in control. I'm a 36 years old female and I'm been longing to have a baby but at times I just give up because I feel that God isn't interested in what I was asking for. but I learn that with Faith all things are possible. Thank you once again for this beautiful sermons.
Mercidita F. Sanchez says:
Thank you for your very inspiring message about Hannah. It's very useful in my facilitation about Hannah (Great women in the bible) in our cell group. Continue to be of service to God. God bless.
Beth says:
I prayed for my son and we only had him. We'd planned for more, but it wasn't happening, I guess. As his momma, I don't believe I could DO that. I don't understand how, if she wanted him so much, she'd volunteer to give him back knowing what that would require. I'm in awe of her faith, her honesty and her strength. I know, just like other mommas do, how much it must've hurt her heart! My eyes tear up every time I read where she takes him back to the temple.
Gloria says:
Thank you for the explanation. I was struggling with the passage. Ask God for him to give me a better explanation as to why Hannah left her child at the church. Today I read your explanation. Thank you for the biblical teaching.
Grace N. Alegre says:
So timely, i found this very beautiful message about Hannah. I like to share this during our women's celebration in the church as a challenge of our faith and obedience.
Tone says says:
I admire Hannah's strength, honesty and her faith in God. She is a role model for me as a woman because of her patience.
Emosi Rakai says:
Thank you for expanding the meaning of these verses on Hannah's faith in the Lord Almighty 🙏. I had to read several times to understand and will share this through our family devotion.
Yvette Whitlock says:
I didn’t understand why God had me reading the story of Hannah. I have a son who just turned 21 and he has never been away from me other than me going to work and him working. But now I see what God is saying to let him go as Hannah had to let Samuel go. It’s not easy and I must say very scary. But out of obedience I know God has his hands on him. And my faith to Trust God is at an all time high.

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