“Why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad?” These were three questions that Elkanah asked his wife, after he noticed her sadness. The problem I noticed in this situation is that Elkanah already knew the answer to these questions. He knew that Hannah wanted to have a baby, and that she couldn’t because she was sterile. He even asked her, “Am I not more to you than 10 sons?”

To be honest, every time I read this passage, I am reminded of how insensitive we can be toward those that are going through difficulties and pain in their lives. Sometimes our lack of compassion and empathy blinds us to the sufferings of others. In this narrative, Hannah was in so much pain, but her anguish seemed insignificant to her husband. One day, Hannah went to the tabernacle to pray to the Lord, and while she was praying, her heart was in so much agony that Eli, the priest, accused her of being drunk. So not only was Hannah’s husband insensitive to her pain, but her spiritual leader was as well. The great thing about this story is that Hannah’s pain wasn’t invisible to everyone. God knew exactly what she was going through. The Lord of hosts saw her in her pain, gave her His comfort, and answered her prayers. 

As I was reflecting on Hannah’s story, it came to mind that maybe, in this COVID-19 season, there are people around us who, like Hanna, are suffering for different reasons. I’m sure that we all know of people who are struggling physically, financially, emotionally, socially, and even spiritually. Many people feel isolated and invisible to everyone around them. My hope and prayer is that as we continue to function as members of God’s family and as ministers of Christ in our community, our eyes would be open to see the needs of those around us. This way, we can partner with them in their affliction. Certainly, God sees and listens to those coming before Him in their pain with sincere and humble hearts, but we can intercede with Him on their behalf.  We need to do better than Elkanah and Eli. Will you join me in asking God to open our eyes to the needs of those around us? We might be the instruments that God would like to use to relieve and heal their pain and come alongside them in their journey.

Would you pray with me? 

Father, there are so many people in need around us during this time. May you use us to advance your kingdom in this season. Equip us to offer your hope and use us as examples of your love. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Esteban Tapia
Pastor of Spanish-language Ministry

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