Sometimes I just want to put things right. I want to step in and dispense a dose of justice. Whether it’s, still many years later, confronting the “friends” who bullied my daughter in college to talking sense into those who make racial slurs.
Perhaps there is undeserved hurt in your own life, or unfairness inflicted on those you love that you are dealing with right now and you keenly feel the need to make right what is wrong.
Of course, standing up to bullies is one tactic to stop this behavior and having dialogue with others about racial hatred can make a difference, but there is an important point that the Bible teaches.
The God in whom we put our trust, is a God of justice.
Sometimes, however, with so much injustice in the world, it seems like true justice is a long time coming. It can feel like God isn’t stepping in immediately to change unfair treatment. And, that’s when we’re tempted to take things into our own hands.
There is a woman in the Bible from we can learn from and see how she dealt with being treated unjustly when her circumstances didn’t seem fair. Hannah relied on God as her Rock. She knew him to be dependable. She trusted God to act justly on her behalf.
Hannah’s strength in the middle of her struggles came from her trust in God, her Rock.
Hannah could not have children. Being barren in ancient times caused significant emotional distress. There was immense social pressure to produce offspring. Children were necessary to carry on the family name and tribe. Alongside these burdens, we see in the Old Testament, being barren was considered a curse, whereas having children was a blessing.
Often a husband took another woman to be his wife for the purpose of procreation, as in the story of Hannah. Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, took Peninnah as his other wife. Where Hannah failed to get pregnant. Peninnah excelled in giving birth.
You’d have thought that would be the end of the problem, but it was only the beginning. Penninah ridiculed Hannah and made sure she suffered in her pain and shame.
We get a sense of Hannah’s distress in the details of the annual visit to the temple in 1 Samuel 1.
Hannah was so upset she couldn’t eat. How Peninnah must have gloated. She was an expert at tormenting Hannah, and it went unchecked year after year.
Hannah, however, did not confront Peninnah, but In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.
The English meaning of the word bitter is a person who is hurt, angry, or resentful because of a bad experience or a sense of unjust treatment.
I’m sure, in Hannah’s prayer, alll the stress, pain, and anguish of Peninnah being mean to her came tumbling out, along with the emotional and social pressure of not being able to get pregnant. Maybe she felt resentful of Peninnah, angry for being a failure, or hurt that she was not being blessed by God.
Have you ever cried and it’s like your whole insides, your whole life is pouring out over something that seems so unfair — a cancer diagnosis, a child taken seriously ill, or mean words from someone you love that have hurt you for years.
We can learn from Hannah to take our hurt, anger, and resentment over the unfairness to God. We don’t need to be timid and accept the injustices but ask God to step in and put it right.
Hannah’s God is our God, too. Hannah’s Rock – the same Rock Hannah prays to — is our Rock, too. We can trust God to act on our behalf.
We can say, like Hannah, “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God” 1 Samuel 2:2.
God did act. Hannah became pregnant.
In her prayer, Hannah affirms that God is dependable to put things right and empower those who turn to him: “My heart rejoices in the Lord! The Lord has made me strong. Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me.”
Her prayer emphasizes that those devalued by others will receive dignity. She says about God: He lifts the poor from the dust and raises the needy from their misery. He makes them companions of princes and puts them in places of honor.
You can be earnest in our prayers for justice. You can be confident that God hears your cries, and that he will answer. He will defend and protect you because you trust in Him.
Use this prayer:
Lord, you are my Rock.
When I want to make right what is wrong,
help me to remember you do, too — that you care about injustices.
Thank you that you are my Rock,
that your works are perfect and all your ways are just.
I can depend on you.
When fairness seems a long way off,
teach me to bring my hurt, anger, and resentment to you.
I ask you to step in and make wrongs right.
I trust you to act on my behalf because there is no one holy like you.
Then my heart will rejoice because you make me strong.
You will give me an answer.
You will bring dignity and honor.