Pastor Mike Messerli teach me a bit more about Hannah. An Old Testament figure that Rachael and I can relate to as she struggled with infertility back in a day when medical help was not an option. We find out through her story that God closed Hannah's womb intentionally to accomplish His purposes and glory through the child He would eventually grant her in that of Samuel.
Pastor Mike pointed out that Hannah, having no knowledge of God's plan was most likely wondering what she had done to deserve those years of infertility and chiding from Penniah. We all tend to do that, don't we? We look at our circumstances when they are challenging or difficult and assume that we are being punished. And while sin and/or poor decision making always has a natural consequence of some type, Mike reminded me of a truth that I want to share with you:
God's punishment of our sins was finished at Calvary as Jesus took what we justly deserved upon His own battered body and died in our place. So long as you have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior there is no EXTRA punishment to take lest you desire to argue with Christ's final words, "It is finished!"
Now...certainly we will still face difficult times just like Hannah did. But these are to grow us and teach us dependence on our Heavenly Father...not to counteract or atone our failures and shortcomings. James 1 - 2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[a] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.