Reflections – playing second fiddle- Elkanah

A long time ago (during lockdown 1), I did a series of reflections on people who were very important in the story of God and his people, but did not play a lead role. Because there are so many of us (most of us, in fact) playing second fiddle (or third or tenth, or even just doing something not in the orchestra at all, but supporting by cleaning the orchestra pit floor), I thought it would be good to look at this subject again. So, today we meet Elkanah, the husband of Hannah, and father of the prophet Samuel.
We read in Samuel 1:1-8 how Elkanah treated Hannah tenderly, even though she had been unable to bear him a child. It must have meant much to Hannah, as Elkanah’s other wife Peninnah was simply beastly to her; it seemed like she never missed an opportunity to taunt poor Hannah. In those days, a woman’s worth was measured in the children she produced; nobody would have blamed Elkanah for ignoring Hannah because she was barren.
Not only was Elkanah loving towards Hannah, he supported her year after year, going to the Temple, offering sacrifices, as she would earnestly entreat God to give her a son. We know the outcome, and how Hannah kept her promise to God to give her first child into His service when he was very young. This lad grew up tuned into God’s voice and became a great prophet.
Not all prayers are answered the way we desire, and you may know someone who is praying month after month, year after year, without God granting their request. It can also be really draining supporting someone whose whole existence seems to be focused on one particular need. God sees all this and is not deaf to our troubles. Every one of us needs to learn patience with God and with our fellows, for he has past present and future in his hands. We need to depend on him for our present needs, and continue to love and support others. Like Elkanah. God bless you.

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