Joy Before the Blessing

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by Melissa Tagg

I’ve often admired Samuel’s mom in the Bible. (I’m talking Samuel the “Here I am, Lord, send me” guy.) She stops eating…she weeps…she prays…she makes a vow to God. And when God blesses her with the son she asked for, she keeps her vow.

But I recently reread the first chapter of 1 Samuel and I noticed something new about Hannah this time.

She stopped eating…just like I remembered.
She wept…just like I remembered.
She prayed…just like I remembered.
She made a vow…just like I remembered.

And then, this:
Made to Last2
“Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.” (1 Samuel 1:18)

That, I didn’t remember. But I loved it when I read it. “She was no longer sad.”

The Message paraphrase actually says, “Then she ate heartily, her face radiant.”

Which would be totally understandable if God had immediately answered her prayer to become pregnant right then and there. But he hadn’t yet. Most versions say Hannah became pregnant “in due time” or “in the course of time.” The Message says, “within a year.”

Regardless, it didn’t happen that exact second.

Yet, before her prayer ever received the “yes” she’d hoped for, Hannah found joy. She found a reason to start eating. She was no longer sad.

Why? I think because even though she still didn’t know for certain that she’d get her dream in the form of a son, she trusted the God to whom she’d entrusted her dream. 1 Samuel says Hannah “poured out her soul” to God. And in doing so, she found hope through surrender. Peace through prayer. And, amazingly, joy in her wait.

And I can’t help thinking about those of us on the writing journey. We’re always praying for something, right?

An agent.
A contract.
Good sales.
Another contract.
Best-seller status.

Sometimes we may sink as low as Hannah did in the opening of 1 Samuel. And I think that’s okay. Our dreams deserve to have emotion attached to them. Dreams are weighty things and they seem to come part and parcel with heartbreak moments along the way.

But they also come with joyful moments. And here’s the thing: We can be like Hannah. We can have joy before our prayers are answered. We can hope. We can have peace. It’s simply a matter of doing what Hannah did…dropping our dream-emotion and impatience and anxiety and all-at God’s feet.

Pouring out our soul like Hannah.

And then like Hannah, we can go out and have a good meal. Maybe even be radiant.

Because the God to whom we’re entrusting our dream? Well, He’s the one who gave us that storytelling spark in the first place. And He’s so, so faithful.

Melissa Tagg6Melissa Tagg is a former newspaper reporter and total Iowa girl. Her first novel, Made to Last, released from Bethany House in September. In addition to her homeless ministry day job, Melissa is also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy. Melissa blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at

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