Fruitful Women: Hannah's Longsuffering
This is the first article of a series by Sister Linda Scolaro in which she relates the fruits of the spirit to women in scripture who possess them. Enjoy!
What do you think of when you read the following?
Galatians 5 refers to these qualities as the fruits of the spirit. In examining them closely, I realize how many of these characteristics I lack in my own character. One fruit or attribute that I can personally relate to is longsuffering. At the very least, I can relate to the patience aspect of longsuffering. There have been times when patience was essential because God didn’t answer my prayers quickly. Waiting on the Lord is always best, but it is not always easy.
Now I ask, of whom do you think when it comes to the fruits of the spirit? When it comes to longsuffering, the first woman in the Bible who comes to my mind is Hannah.
Hannah could not conceive a child. For many years, she went to the house of the Lord to pray. The scripture mentions an adversary who provoked her and ridiculed her situation. How hurtful was that? However, Hannah persevered and faithfully went to pray. The scripture says she did this year after year. One day, she poured out her heart and soul. When Eli realized she was sincere, he said “Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.” As the story goes, Hannah did conceive a baby boy named Samuel and dedicated him to the Lord.
Hannah truly displays longsuffering. She faithfully prayed year after year. She did not give up. My favorite part of the story is that in total she conceived five children, three sons and two daughters. This did not happen quickly; Hannah had patience. She also had patience when her adversary mocked her.
The power of negative words is so strong that scripture says Hannah did not eat. Think about the words that are often said to a childless couple. Sometimes a question as simple as “What are you waiting for?” or “When are you going to start a family?” can feel very adversarial because you don’t know the circumstances.
Hannah found comfort in pouring out her soul in prayer. What an example she portrays of longsuffering and what I should do when I don’t know what to do — pray! Merriam-Webster defines longsuffering as “suffering for a long time without complaining: very patient during difficult times.”
As I reflect on the times when I waited for answers, I can’t honestly say I didn’t complain. Did Hannah complain? No, she remained very patient during difficult times, and the Lord rewarded her faith with her desire and more.
So, if you are experiencing something today that requires patience and waiting, find strength from this amazing woman. To me, she epitomizes longsuffering, and she gives us a great example to follow during rough times in remaining faithful and seeking the Lord’s will for our lives without complaint but with acceptance and longsuffering.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.