Bad Slots in Your Life

In life, oftentimes situations arise that try our spirits and test the stability of our feet. We receive the blessings of God, however, mixed in with these blessings are everyday problems and strife- in essence, bad slots in our lives. As God’s children, we sometimes feel that we should be exempt from these hardships, and that once saved, everything should work in our favour, but we fail to recognize the important fact that God never makes a mistake when he throws a problem our way.

In a recent message delivered in our assembly, Brother Singh covered this issue extensively, using the Biblical account of Hannah as an illustration. (1 Sam 1).

The story is one of Elkanah, a man who had two wives named Hannah and Peninnah. Although Peninnah gave Elkanah many children, his heart belonged to Hannah, though she was unable to give him any. He never begrudged her this fact, always making her feel more valuable than her opponent by offering her a worthy portion of his wealth. (1 Sam 1:5). As can be expected however, Peninnah envied Hannah’s stable position, taunted her barrenness, and provoked her sore. (1 Sam 1:6). Hence, not only did Hannah have to deal with the emotional pain of her infertility, but in addition, the cruelty of her rival. Her sorrow drove her to the temple, where she wept before the Lord to deliver her from her trial and to give her a son. Eli, the priest at the temple and the servant of God, happened upon the woman and, seeing her in this wretched state, accused her of being drunk. She denied it, never changing her sweet spirit or letting anger take hold of her. Recognizing her sincerity and the sorrow of her heart, Eli sent her away, telling her, “the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.” (1 Sam 1:17).

Brother Singh went through the story slowly, highlighting the key elements of this passage. He explained that Elkanah’s unrelenting love for Hannah was God’s blessing on her life. A husband who understood her plight and was genuinely concerned was truly a good thing. Peninnah, however, was the bad slot in her life that provided the conflict needed to drive Hannah to the Lord.

Hypothetically reversing the situation, Brother Singh showed that if Peninnah’s malicious attitude was changed into a warm, loving, and understanding one, there would have been no tears in Hannah’s eyes. But clearly, Hannah was suffering, and she was in bitterness of soul when she went to the temple to appeal to God. (I Sam 1:10). Even after being accused wrongfully by the man of God, she answered him with humility and respect. Obviously, the hurt she was experiencing at the hand of Peninnah was working a tenderness in her spirit.

When we take Peninnah out of Hannah’s life or make her into a kinder person, Hannah may not even have gone to the temple, may not have prayed, and Samuel, one of the greatest men of God in the Old Testament, may not have been born. Although Hannah might have enjoyed a much more peaceable life without Peninnah’s constant ridicule, the plan of God would not have been worked in her life and she would have missed out on being the mother of a great prophet.

The question, therefore is, was Peninnah an important element in God’s plan for Hannah’s life? Of course! Though she was a bad slot, she was a necessary slot in the development of God’s plan.

If, after having Samuel, Hannah had changed her attitude towards Peninnah, the work in her life would have been nullified because she would not have kept the sweet spirit God had meant for her to develop through this process. But she did not change, and instead, she allowed God to use her to bring this lesson forward. Hannah said, “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge and by him actions are weighed.” (1 Sam 2:3). She came to understand that God always has a plan and never makes a mistake.

How many times, in our lives, are there people and situations that we feel we don’t need or deserve because they cause too much trouble and bring about heartache? Though there may be too many to count, we must be aware of the fact that if God has a plan, and he will employ these types of bad slots to complete his work in our lives.