Hannah had carried the grief of not having a son for years (1:7), which makes it so surprising—shocking would be a better description—when she made good on her vow to dedicate Samuel and leave him to serve God with Eli. We expect her to make such a vow when she was barren; attempting to bargain with God from a place of such weakness would lead most of us to make lofty promises. But when she cradled her son in her arms and nursed him, we can imagine her maternal instincts kicking in to high gear and the rationalizing to begin.
We imagine this because it is what we likely would have done, or have done. Who would fault a mother for keeping her son in spite of a vow? But instead, we see the shocking reality of Hannah following through on her promise and leaving her young son with Eli. Surely this was not easy for Hannah. Surely she wept as she made her lonely journey home, with arms now empty. But what sustained Hannah was knowing God’s goodness to her in providing a son as she had asked, and that same goodness would sustain her as she gave God’s gift back to Him in worship.
What gift from God might you be holding onto instead of giving it back to God in worship? Why?