‘Then Elkanah her husband said to her, ‘Hannah. why do you weep?
Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved?
Am I not better to you than ten sons?” (l Samuel 1:8)
Hannah is a clear example of depressive symptoms. The verse tells us that the woman was crying, brokenhearted and had to appetite in eating. We also read that she suffered from a bitter soul, and she describes herself as a woman of sorrowful spirit, anguished and afflicted (v.15). The cause of her misfortune was her infertility (v.5) which was something unacceptable to any woman in that Hebrew culture. To make matters worse, Peninnah, her husband’s second wife, teased her which made her angry and sad because God had not allowed her to have children (v. 6).
Hannah’s psychological pain was not due to an evil heart. The Bible presents her as a religious woman who was close to God. In Patriarchs and Prophets, Ellen G. White explains that Hannah was a woman of fervent piety, gentle and humble, and she distinguished herself by a deep earnestness and great faith (ch. 55, p. 569). White also says that it was Elkanah who lacked faith and decided to take a second wife to perpetuate his name. The new situation caused serious family problems. Hannah represents the good and God-fearing woman who suffers from depression with no fault. ‘There are some who think that mental disorders occur because the individual turned away from God or lost his faith, but this is untrue in most of the cases, and Hannah is an example. Instead of judging and adding to the guilt and desperation of the person, the Lord calls us to reach out, like Eli, as soon as he found out about Hannah’s pain.
But even more important is the fact that Hannah reached out to God, and she prayed in the midst of her sorrow with bitterness in her soul as she wept in anguish (v. 10). The result was the coming of the child Samuel who would become one of the greatest prophets of Israel. Of course, Hannah completely overcame her affliction, as it becomes obvious in her prayer of gratitude which includes joy and rejoicing, giving glory and honor to God and acknowledging His power through these famous phrases, «My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation» (l Sam. 2: l).
If your are affected weeping by discouragement, sadness, melancholy or dismay, pray to God, even if it is while with bitterness as Hannah did because He will grant you surprising results just like He did with her.