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1 Samuel 2:1-2

Then Hannah prayed and said:

“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
in the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.

“There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

I love this passage. Hannah was barren, and heartbroken. She desperately wanted a child. Even though her husband tried to comfort her, it was not enough. And why is she rejoicing here? God has blessed her with a baby boy, and now she is following through on the promise she made: to give her child to God’s service. Samuel is her little boy, and she has just weaned him. She and her husband took him to the temple with their annual sacrifice and left him in the care of Eli, the priest. And as they dedicate their son to God’s service, Hannah sings these words.

I spent a lot of time pouring over the first two chapters of 1 Samuel during my pregnancy with Samantha. I think there is a part of me that had this in mind when we named her. I was so worried about losing her, and I needed to be reminded of God’s provision in parenthood.

And we were blessed with six precious, healthy weeks. Six weeks of holding her and loving her. Six weeks without the heavy fear of death pressing down on us.

Then over the next five weeks of worry and fear, we were led down a path of trusting God with her illness, trusting that He would hold onto her and us. And eventually, like Hannah, we were asked to entrust our daughter fully to God. Once we took her home on hospice, we received the gift of six more weeks without fear of death. Yes, we worried every second. But death became a gift, an entrance into her ultimate healing. Like Hannah, we brought our child to God and released her.

And there is joy in that release, in knowing that your child is safe in the arms of the One who created the world and sustains it. There is pain, but there is joy.

Every time I read this passage I am filled with a melody from my last year of college. I sang in the choir and on our spring concert tour we sang a song of Hannah’s words. “There is none as holy as God, there is none beside You. There is none as holy as God, there is none beside You.” What joy I have to know my daughter is in His arms.

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