Now it came about, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli was watching her mouth. 13 As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. 14 Then Eli said to her, “How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you.” 15 But Hannah replied, “No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation.” 17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.” 18 She said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. (1 Samuel 1)
O how we misunderstand one another sometimes! Eli got it so wrong on this one. He stood in judgement over Hannah. He was a priest to God, meant to help her, but instead he judged a woman crying out to God from the depths of her heart. Notice that Hanna was “speaking from her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard.” Only God knows why she wouldn’t cry out in a way that others could hear, but God knows, and He is the only one who really does know the depths of our struggles, our yearnings, our wounds and needs. Jesus showed me something once. I had been deeply hurt by people in The Church, so I had recoiled, curled up, withdrawn and stopped serving His Body. I found a verse, seemingly to justify my lack of fellowship with believers, but instead God used it to show me how to serve the Body of Christ again. Here’s the verse:
24 But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, 25 and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man. (John 2)
Jesus said to me, “I never asked you, or anyone else, to trust mankind. I asked you to love them.” I was stunned by His statement, and proceeded to pray, “Lord, you are going to have to show me how to do this, because I just don’t know how.” Thus began a journey with Jesus, learning how to love mankind. The same word for trust is used in another very important passage of Scripture for how to carry out this part of God’s call and His Character of love toward others:
21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. (1 Peter 2)
Jesus knew the Father’s love for Him. He knew who He was, and He trusted only Him completely. He did not need to defend Himself before the lies of mankind, instead, He kept silent and trusted in His Father. So let us follow His example and love each other, but put our full and complete trust only in the Lord. We are bound to fail each other at times, but God will never fail, never leave, never forsake us. Rest in Him alone!