Why do you weep, and. . . refuse to eat? . . . Am I not more to you than ten sons? 

Family photos often elicit the exclamation “He looks just like his father!” Sometimes the resemblance is evident in a posture, a mannerism, or even in the sound of one’s voice. So it is with Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, in today’s first reading (1 Samuel 1:1-8). Elkanah’s words to Hannah, whose heart is breaking under the weight of her longing for a child, reveal the loving character of God. The concern, the tenderness, and the empathy Elkanah has for Hannah mirror how God looks at each of us.

Read Elkanah’s words to Hannah again: “Am I not more to you . . . ?” (1 Samuel 1:8). They are words of love, full of compassion and graciousness toward his distraught wife. Elkanah was not hurt or angered by her refusal of his comfort but gently tried to turn her thoughts toward the bigger truth of his love for her. How like God our Father that is! As a father, God has compassion on us, his children. Daily he wants to remind us of his grace and mercy toward us.

As it did for Hannah, disappointment can cloud your emotions and your view of God. But you can clear that fog. Like Hannah, start with prayer—it’s okay to remind the Lord (repeatedly even) of what you desire. But also remind yourself that God cares for you. He is not angered when you refuse his comfort. He wants to meet you in your pain and provide for you. He longs to nourish you and heal the areas of your life that feel wounded or wasted. Eventually, God did fulfill Hannah’s deepest longing for a son, Samuel. But in the meantime, he poured into her his tender, fatherly love—just as he will for you.

So take the nourishment God offers today. He might nourish you with an inspiring word in Scripture. Or perhaps he will feed your soul through the comfort of a friendship and the laughter and encouragement that flow between the two of you. He certainly can feed you through his presence in the Eucharist and in a restful, peaceful prayer time. In those moments, you may discover that your heavenly Father can fulfill you as nothing else can.

“Father, thank you for your tender love. I trust you to provide for me.”

Psalm 116:12-19
Mark 1:14-20
1 Samuel 1:1-8


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