illus-29 1 Samuel 1 The story is heart-breaking; Hannah is childless and tormented. I’ve seen couples brought to their knees from infertility but for Hannah it was a much bigger deal.  In this culture, much of a woman’s value revolved around her ability to have children.  Not only was she barren but she had a co-wife who hated her and flaunted Hannah’s inability to have children. When the family went up to Shiloh to sacrifice, Hannah was overcome by grief and prayed like only the miserable can.  Eli blessed her and sent her home.  What happens next is miraculous; after years of bareness Hannah conceives and gives birth to Samuel. What gets me about this passage is that God cares enough to respond to Hannah’s misery.  Don’t get me wrong, her misery is real and I think we can all relate.  My parents lost one of my brothers at birth; I imagine there were many tearful nights.  But what’s so remarkable to me is that a sovereign God, the one who is responsible for the planets orbiting and the creation of a vast universe would kneel down and give care to a young woman who wants a baby. Sometimes I think that in all of our “Jesus loves me” talk (which is both good and true because He does), we sometimes forget who it is that’s caring for us.  Everyone who encountered God in the Old Testament was left trembling.  The Israelites at Sinai experienced God and told Moses: “…do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Jeremiah writes: “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.”   What amazes me in this passage is that an all-powerful creator God who both builds and tears down kingdoms would care so deeply for His creation that He would reach down and comfort a grieving young woman. “How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!”