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. 19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.”
(1 Samuel 1:17-20)
Yesterday we saw Hannah being accused by Eli the high priest of public drunkenness while praying. She explained the situation to him with tolerance and understanding. Today we see Eli’s response and the result of Hannah’s prayer.
Eli, like all people, was flawed. He jumped to a conclusion about Hannah that turned out to be wrong. But he was readily willing to acknowledge his mistake and atone for it. He did so when he answered Hannah by giving her a blessing.
Notice that after praying Hannah went away and ate. She had cast her burden upon the Lord and so her own spirit was lifted. Her appetite returned and she was no longer sad. She could be cheerful even though nothing had (yet) changed in her life.
God does not want us to be troubled, no matter what is going on in our life. Instead He wants us to cast our cares upon Him [Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7]. It’s okay and understandable to feel pain. But that pain should not affect our current mood or future outlook.
Instead that pain should send us to God in prayer, giving our problems to Him. This is exactly what Hannah did.
The result was that Hannah was no longer filled with anxiety. She knew that God would answer her prayers, even though He had not yet done so. Her spirit was calmed and she could go back to a normal life because her burden had been removed. The Lord was now bearing it. Hannah was no longer focused on the problems in her life (which surely had not been removed). Instead she was focused on God and His great concern for her.
This is faith. Faith is not born out of that which we see and experience. Faith is the evidence of things unseen [Hebrews 11:1]. Hannah knew that no matter what happened from that point forward that God was in control. He had her life in His hands and she had no more reason to fret.
A fretful Christian is an oxymoron. Anyone who is a child of God has no reason to ever worry. When we worry or allow ourselves to be troubled we are demonstrating a lack of faith in God.
We don’t know exactly how God will solve our problems, but He will. We don’t need to have all the answers up front. We just need to place our troubles in His care and have faith that He will deal with them in the best possible way.
As Hannah left Shiloh and went back to her house at Ramah she didn’t know when or even if God would give her a son. But she could rejoice in life for no other reason than knowing she was a daughter of the all-powerful and all-loving God who was going to take care of her.
In this case, God did grant Hannah’s specific request. But notice it was in due time. Hannah didn’t get pregnant right away. But eventually she conceived and bore a son. She named him “Samuel” which means “asked of God”.
God answers prayers on His timetable – based on what is best for us at any given point in time. We may not get an answer to our prayer right away. And sometimes God answers in a way we didn’t ask for or expect. But that is just His way of growing our faith even more.
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