Some stories in our tradition shouldn’t be ignored. They may seem to just be a part of a much larger narrative, but by dismissing them as only that, we dismiss the teaching opportunity that they could bring to today’s audience.
Hannah’s prayer (1 Samual 2: 1-10) and it’s back story (1 Samual 1:1-28) is as much a Child and Families dilemma today as it was when this story passed into our literature. And though it may be argued that it was written by a male, using a male voice for a male audience, this does not stop it having something pertinent for today’s women or families.
Bullying is a problem today as in Hannah’s time. The situation might be different; we may not, in 21st Century Australia, have legal multiple wives, but we do still have bullying. (1 Samual 1:6) It is not an issue of the situation, it is an issue of humanity. We still live in community, be that in families or faith communities, school communities etc. Children need to know that as well as all the techniques, and help options available, they can also talk it over with God. God is big enough to take the non-PC (politically correct) words, as they struggle to work out what really matters to them. They neither need to feel or be alone when there is a relationship with God.
Children need to hear biblical/faith options available to them to. I remember as a child I only had one weapon of defence in my being bullied arsenal, I was told to turn the other check, (Matthew 5:39 and Luke 6:29) which I literally did, and came home bruised and battered after each round.
I didn’t know that I could tell God about it. That God cared that Miss red hair, was making MY life miserable. That there were more responses in the christian bullying arsenal than “get clobbered” that’s what God wants of you!!
Parents also need to hear the bullying stories, they need to know that they don’t have to take a bullying relationship, that God cares enough to listen to the hurt and the pain, and not just be happy with a further damaging response.
Those who have been surrendered by our parents to others, for our safety, also need to hear Hannah’s prayer. She has a way of keeping a child safe, of not keeping him in a house where bullying is rife. The solution sounds dramatic to our ears, send the child away, return the child to God’s care, yet children fostered, or sent to family members need to hear that God is also with them, that difficult solutions come from difficult situations.
Advent begins next week, and we hear the story of another women in a difficult situation, God didn’t leave her destitute to bring up this baby alone. No, intervention was taken in the form of a dream, to change Joseph’s mind. God is a part of the lives of those called. We all need to hear that message, that we have a place to take our hurt and our confusion. That we are loved.
sites for practical help for Kids
For Parents https://www.relationships.org.au