10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
1 SAMUEL 1:7-18 ESV
Hannah’s barrenness brought her much humiliation and pain. She had to continually tolerate hurtful comments made by the other wife in the house, the one with many children. Her husband loved her dearly, but he could not comfort Hannah as she desired to have her own child. She was greatly saddened. Through Hannah’s story, we can see what it means to approach God honestly with our pain and anxiety.
Turn to God, NOT away from Him
Often, when people desire for something to happen desperately, they would try to make things happen their way. And if things don’t work out, they blame it on God, and they turn away from Him. In Hannah’s case, God has closed her womb (1 Samuel 1:5), but she did not complain, nor did she try to look for other ways to fulfill her plan. Though the situation anguished her, she did not lose her faith in God. Instead, she trusted that God cared for her. Therefore, she chose to run nowhere else but to God and pour out her heart to Him.
She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly”1 SAMUEL 1:10
God cared for Hannah, and He also cares for us. He keeps our tears in a bottle. (Psalm 56:8). So if we need to cry, cry before God. Not only because He has a broader and strong shoulder, He also treasures each teardrop we shed.
Don’t be ashamed of our pain
When Eli accuses Hannah of being drunk, how hurtful could it have been for Hannah, in that moment of anguish, to have to face such a groundless accusation, and it came from a man who held such an honored position! But Hannah was not ashamed of telling Eli that she was in great distress. She answered –
“No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”1 SAMUEL 1:15-16
She did not show any shame or embarrassment about her sorrow. We shouldn’t feel ashamed about our grief either because sadness points to our need for the God of peace and comfort. Tears are God’s healing water, and He is also near the brokenhearted.
Leave our burdens at His feet
“And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.”1 SAMUEL 1:18
Hannah didn’t yet have an answer from God to her request, but she was no longer sad after she prayed. She trusted that God had heard her plea. She brought her burden and pain to the altar, and she trusted the Lord well enough to leave them at His feet, and so should we! The burdens left behind should not be taken back. He is the great healer and comforter. We can trust that He will answer our prayers in His way and in His time.
Dear Lord, You are our fortress and help. You love us, and you care for us and understand our pain. We live in a broken world, and many things are not our control. Help us trust you and lay down our hurt, worries, and burdens at your feet.