Advent Devotional - December 7
He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
Israel placed great importance on progeny. For them, it was a matter of survival in a hostile world and harsh environment. This mindset weighed heavily on people who had difficulty procreating. One can only imagine the self-doubt and anguish Hannah must have felt when she appeared to not be able to have children. Even though her spouse, Elkanah, supported, loved and cared for her, his concern for her may have intensified her pain. This story of Samuel’s conception is also a story of patience; specifically, the gift and power of patient persistence. Patient persistence is that internal fortitude to proceed forward in spite of difficulty.
This story also reminds us that our Creator encourages patient persistence. Though our journey may take a different path than the one we planned, its outcome can still be that whch we set out to accomplish.
Former Navy SEAL, Eric Greitens’ book Resilience is a collection of letters he wrote to a struggling comrade. As I read it, I was repeatedly seeing the gift of patient persistence emerging through resilience – a life of gratitude and hope.
In today’s world, patience isn’t necessarily a celebrated characteristic. Many view it as resignation. But Hannah’s patient persistence exhibited in her prayer life and the response Eli, the priest, gave, “Go in peace,” is a recognition and celebration of patience.
Life is filled with joy and sadness. Moving through the tears in patient persistence, we begin to find ourselves smiling – maybe even laughing – as we celebrate the fullness of the experience and our achievement. That is patient persistence being lived out! That is resilience!
About the author
Rev. Dr. Ewen Holmes is the Interim Executive Pastor at PHPC.