Have you ever felt as if you are not enough? As if you are not good enough despite anything accomplish? As if no matter what you do, it will never be enough?
Hannah felt the same way. Living in a time where having a husband was essential for survival and prosperity, she was well off. But that was temporary. Her husband, Elkanah, was there for now. But what would Hannah do if he wasn’t there any longer? You see, Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah; Peninnah had children, while Hannah could not have any. Being a woman without children or a husband was the worst thing in society. With no one to care and provide for her, Hannah would be led to find means of income in the most unpleasant of jobs. For now, Hannah had Elkanah but she felt empty and not enough without a child. Though Peninnah ridiculed her, Elkanah loved and comforted her, and favored her. And yet, Hannah did not feel that she was enough.
While on one of their trips to Shiloh, where they would journey once a year to worship God, Elkanah noticed something was wrong with Hannah. So, he asked three poignant questions.
“Why are you crying?” “Why are you not eating?” “Why is your heart sad?” (1 Sam 1:8)
Interestingly, these three questions addressed Hannah’s emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. It was a holistic question. “Hannah, why are you completely and utterly devastated?” Elkanah was speaking to the depth of her heart, and attempting to show his love for her. His final question takes it home and reveals a truly invested Elkanah. He asks, “Am I not worth more to you than 10 sons?” Bam! Woah! What a question. Elkanah had seen the pain and anguish that Hannah’s infertility had caused her; pain which had affected him as well. But her inability to bear a child did not inhibit or restrain his love for her. He was trying to get her attention, to point her away from her “deficiencies” and to her enoughness. Elkanah loved Hannah because she belonged to him, she was his wife; beyond what she could do for him, he loved her for her. Hannah was enough for him.
In the same way, we may feel as though we are not enough. We come to God and thank Him for His love. But turn around and beat ourselves up because we are never good enough, strong enough, bold enough, perfect enough, talented enough, loving enough. Enough! God loves us. God loves you, not because of what you have, can, or will do, but because He just loves.
1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is love,” and He cannot help but love you. John 3:16 paints the beautiful picture of God’s love for us, that He would rather die and go to hell for us, than be in heaven without us. His love for you is not based on who you are or what you do. You do not have to earn His love. There is nothing that you can do to make Him love you more or to make him love you less. He loves you with an everlasting love and there is nothing that can separate you from Him (Jer 31:3; Rom 8:38-39). He is longing to grab our attention and point us away from our deficiencies and towards our enoughness. Don’t fight for the approval of this world, simply realize that the God of the universe finds you likeable, desirable, and enough!
Sebastian Lopez has been involved with Enspire Productions since 2010. He is currently enrolled in the MDiv. program at the Andrews University Theological Seminary.