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R&V In the Word: Burst with God-News

Image: Priscilla Du Preez

Read 1 Samuel 2:1-10 MSG

Hannah prayed:

I’m bursting with God-news!

    I’m walking on air.

I’m laughing at my rivals.

    I’m dancing my salvation.

1 Samuel 2:1 MSG

I feel like I’m in the Hannah season of my life. 

There’ve been plenty of times God has walked with me through the valley of the shadow of death. If you flip your Bible pages back one chapter, you’ll find Hannah in her own valley—crushed in soul, inconsolable, so low that Eli thinks she’s drunk. 

If you’ve been down, Hannah has been there, too.

But by the beginning of chapter two, everything has changed. Hannah was “bursting with God-news,” walking on air, laughing at rivals, dancing her salvation. She’s alive and overflowing with God’s good abundance and joy! Her cheeks hurt from smiling. The trees, the flowers, the sky, the earth, it’s all singing with her. Everywhere she goes she brings gladness along, because she has been seen by the Lord and God is with her.

I’m a middle-aged mother of three with a daughter just about to graduate and two sons in their teens. My husband rejoices over me and I adore him more than I did yesterday. We have two silly dogs, parents that love us, friends who know us, and a sweet home with doors wide open and a table to accommodate many extra bodies, no matter their shapes, colors, or sizes.

The last 40 years have not been easy but every valley has been filled with the glory of God, even if I couldn’t see it in the fog of my own grief, insecurity, anxiety, and fear. And each mountaintop moment has given me glimpses of that glory rising and filling the whole earth with God’s breath and presence.

If I don’t burst with God-news, walk on air, laugh at my rivals, and dance with salvation, what the heck was all that walking through the valley of the shadow of death to emerge on the mountaintop of mercy for?

Everywhere I look, I see how “the very structures of earth are God’s; he has laid out his operations on a firm foundation,” and it gives me courage, and it gives me peace. I am a falling eyelash in a universe held together by God’s protective hands. As recipients of that great revelation, who am I not to dance and sing through the trials and minor anxieties of my every day?

We are to be people of the resurrection promise, people of the hope for tomorrow, people who rest on the faith that God was, and is, and always will be. So, dance! So, sing! Join the chorus belting out its praise in this resurrection spring!

Points of Reflection

  1. How does Hannah’s journey from despair to joy resonate with your own life experiences of overcoming challenges and finding moments of celebration and gratitude?
  2. Reflecting on the valleys and mountaintop moments in your life, how can you cultivate a mindset of bursting with “God-news,” walking on air, laughing at rivals, and dancing with salvation, even amidst the trials and anxieties of everyday life?

For the Kids

  1. Draw two pictures: one representing a challenging time or “valley” in your life, and another representing a joyful or victorious moment, or “mountaintop,” like Hannah experienced. Then, share with a friend or family member what you learned from each experience.
  2. How do you show gratitude or joy in response to the good things in your life? Make time to celebrate God’s goodness!


I’m often shy about celebrating good things because it feels like bragging, but for some reason, it’s much easier to lament when life isn’t going my way. But both realities are true—life is hard, and life is also beautiful. We should lament when it’s appropriate to lament and rejoice when it’s time to rejoice! If rejoicing is hard for you, too, then let’s practice it. Identify what is happening in your life that is good, something you’re proud of or grateful for. Take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate this gift from God—write about it in a journal or share it with a friend or loved one. Think about how this moment connects to the larger journey of your life—what seed is this experience the fruit of? And what can you do to incorporate a practice of gratitude and rejoicing into your daily life in order to embody the same spirit of joy, hope, and resilience found in Hannah’s story?


For many folks, this is a season of celebration—it’s high school and college graduation time! Mary Karr’s little book, Now Go Out There (and Get Curious) is a graduation speech about resisting the urge to compare yourself to other people, to shift from judgment to wonder, and to see the beauty and goodness in the hard roads that shape us all. It’s a funny, sharp, edgy speech that’s perfect for the person (or that person’s parents) who is completing the end of a season, ready to look back on the road they just traveled as they anticipate the next steps to come.

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