As I read through the pages of “A Passionate Hope” I felt I was in the biblical hill country of Ephraim, interacting with Hannah, the mother of Samuel, and Elkanah, son of Jeroham as they lived their lives as Kohathite’s dedicated to daily worshiping Adonai Tzva’ot, at home and at the tabernacle of Shiloh during the time of Eli the Priest and his two corrupt sons, Hophni and Phinehas.
Though these people lived long ago they have been brought to life through Jill Eileen Smith‘s newest book titled “A Passionate Hope.”
The Bible doesn’t say much about Hannah except what is read in 1 Samuel 1:2 and 2:21. Other than that, she is never mentioned anywhere else in the Bible.
But Jill Eileen Smith took what was said in those few Bible verses and coupled it with biblical history and research to weave an incredibly true to life story of hope and trust that is captivating to read.
“A Passionate Hope” is the story of Hannah, who though married to a man who truly loves her as much or more then she loves him, cannot conceive a child that both of them desperately want.
It is a story of hope that endures through many trials. It is a story of trust in a God who seems to not hear the prayers prayed day by day, and year by year.
It is a story of heartache and heartbreak as a childless Hannah deals with the unkindness and rejection of family and the evil she sees being carried on in the tabernacle by those who are supposed to be God’s priests. It is a story of a woman whose faith is strong, who chooses to pray and praise instead of murmur and complain.
Many times as I read this book I found myself relating to the situations Hannah and Elkanah faced.
When I read: “Tears fell in drops as though she were standing in a storm, her heart burning within her. Oh, Adonai. Do You even listen to my prayers? I ask and I ask and beg and I plead, and nothing changes.” (page 180)
Many times, I like Hannah, prayed and prayed for something for years and years without any results, wondering, as Hannah did, if God actually did see and hear.
“Oh Adonai, why do You not act? Why do You let the evil go on and on?” (Page 199)
Many times I have also uttered a similar question to God regarding evil works I have seen, just as Elkanah did when he saw the continual evil being done by Eli’s sons.
This book was filled with emotions of frustration, fear, sadness, and anger. Yet, also of hope, love, forgiveness, kindness, self-sacrifice, hope and trust.
This book shows us that God does see and hear all the circumstances we face but sometimes He seems to be silent because we have to wait for His timing. He has a plan for good that can only be fulfilled in His time.
So, we have to wait, trust and hope, sometimes for what seems like a long, long time. But, in the end it is always worth the wait.
–Leona J. Atkinson