"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
I don't know who came up with that phrase, but they definitely weren't from this planet. Or this universe even. Nope, around here, words hurt a lot! And while they may not break bones, they certainly break hearts, hopes and spirits. Just ask Hannah.
Hannah was the wife of a man named Elkanah. From what the Bible tells us, Elkanah was a good and kind person. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of his other wife, Peninnah (which, guys, if you're taking notes, is another good reason to have only one wife). Peninnah, from her description, was the queen of cruel. While she had everything she could want—a good husband, lots of children, a home—that wasn't enough. Rather than bask in her good fortune, she had to rub Hannah's nose in it.
But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb. And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. - I Samuel 1:5-7
Well, that's mature, isn't it? We have words for people like Peninnah, but the Bible cautions us against uttering such things, so let's use the same word the Scripture uses—adversary. Enemy. We could even go so far as to call her a bully.
What is it about the adversaries in our lives that they feel it's necessary to kick us while we're down?
Hannah felt bad enough about being barren. She didn't need Peninnah's cruel words and improper jests. She didn't need to be provoked to where she couldn't eat or sleep. What is wrong with people?
What makes this even worse is that Peninnah was family. Not by blood, but family nonetheless. If we can't count on family, who can we count on? Family is supposed to be supportive and comfort us when we're heartbroken. They're meant to be on our side—for us, not against us. But, that's not always the way it works.
In fact, I have a friend who is going through a terrible battle with some of her family members. These people, who call themselves Christians, have spouted lies about my friend on social media, addressing her by phrases like "the evil one." This is one of the most loving, caring, Godly women I've ever met. She's not the one talking about others behind their backs. She's not the one calling people names. Yet she's the evil one? (I've got to move on before I get too upset to continue!).
My point is, enemies are real, and sometimes the attacks come from people we would never expect.
Yes, it seems there are those out there just waiting for us to fall so they can kick us while we're down or pee in our cornflakes (not sure where that phrase came from either, but it seemed appropriate here). It's painful to be attacked from within. It's shocking! And somehow, it hurts so much more. But before you allow the pain to consume you, take comfort in what the Bible has to say:
Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies. - Psalm 112:4-8
God is keeping the record. He is watching, and I remind you, He is very protective of His children.
A light will arise in the darkness. We don't have to be hurt or afraid. Our hearts can be established by fixing our eyes on the Lord.
And did you catch that phrase, the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance? Let's go back to Hannah's story for a moment and see that promise come to pass.
And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord. - I Samuel 1:19-20
Who's laughing now, Peninnah? God kept His promise, and He'll keep His promise to you. I know you're hurting, but God is in control, and He will protect His own. Hang in there. Fix your eyes on Jesus and let Him fix the problem. He hasn't forgotten or forsaken you. He's on your side. Don't lose hope, dear one.
God's got this!