How do you respond when someone else is suffering? It’s not easy, is it? On the one hand you feel helpless, and yet pitching in and helping often demands a personal commitment that costs us rather a lot. So, how do you respond?

Yesterday we met Hannah in the Old Testament, who, unlike Elkanah’s other wife, was unable to bear him any children.

1 Samuel 1:2 Elkanah had two wives. One wife was named Hannah and the other wife was named Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not.

Not surprisingly, coupled with Peninnah’s nastiness, that hurt. Now, I’m so glad that these days we go with the whole one husband, one wife thing. But back then, that wasn’t the case.

And the easiest thing for Elkanah would have been to favour Peninnah over Hannah. After all, it was Peninnah who was giving him children. It was Peninnah who seemed to have her act together, while Hannah was so sad, so often weeping. Yeah, favouring Peninnah and shunning Hannah would have been by far the easiest option. But that’s not the one Elkanah chose:

1 Samuel 1:4,5 Whenever Elkanah offered his sacrifices, he always gave one share of the food to his wife Peninnah and a share of the food to each of Peninnah’s children. Elkanah always gave an equal share of the food to Hannah. He did this because he loved her very much, even though the LORD had not let Hannah have any children.

Elkanah found every conceivable way to show Hannah his love. I’m sure coping with her moods wasn’t easy. And certainly, his love didn’t fill the void that only a child could. But he loved her anyway, the best way he knew how.

Loving a hurting person is an investment. It costs us something up front. That’s the way it’s meant to be.

And that’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.

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