1 Samuel 1:17-18 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” [Hannah] said, “May your servant find favour in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
As I reflected on Hannah’s response to Eli’s blessing my thoughts were drawn to Paul’s challenge in Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I asked myself, ‘How often do I pour out my burdens to the Lord, and then continue to worry about them anxiously?”. Jesus promised, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Whenever I sing Joseph Scriven’s lyrics, “Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”, I feel I ought to add, “or because I do claim to hand my burden over to my ever-faithful, all-powerful God, and then continue to carry it myself anyway!”
The sad Hannah, with the downcast face and the total lack of appetite, was not yet pregnant, but she trusted fully in the God of whom Eli had spoken, and, in her mind, she was already pregnant – or, even if she wasn’t going to become pregnant, whatever happened in the future was safely in God’s hands!
My prayers are not always ‘answered’ in the way I think would be best, but they are always heard by the One who knows what is best for me, and that ought to mean that it is no longer appropriate for me to be downcast or have an anxious tummy. Lord, please help me to have the sort of faith and trust that Hannah demonstrated. ‘He cares, he loves, he knows,/ his love, though never dim,/ can only give the best to those/ who leave the choice with him!’
– Bruce Christian