by Rachel Britton
Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
1 Samuel 1:17 (NIV)
Recently I discovered a Christmas card that made me chuckle. It showed a family posing for their holiday portrait among rows of balsam fir trees.
A mother and two daughters sat at the front of the group. Instead of smiling, they frowned. Bright green duct tape covered their mouths.
At first I thought it was some kind of protest, but then I noticed the father and a son standing behind, grinning.
The man held up a chalkboard. On it, scrawled in white chalk, were the words: Peace on Earth. The small boy, on the other side, held up his thumb.
Although we might think peace comes through the actions or remarks of other people, or in this case through the silence of other members of our family, this is not true.
Hannah did not find contentment because Eli, the priest, told her to “go in peace.” His statement may have reassured Hannah, but words alone do not bring peace.
Instead, Eli made this statement because he knew Hannah had done what was necessary to find tranquility in her life—Hannah had spent time with God.
Yet, she did more. Hannah had poured out her soul—all the burdens within her heart—to her Lord.
The story tells us Hannah wept bitterly when she prayed. All the stress, pain, and anguish of being tormented by her rival, Peninnah, came tumbling out in her prayer.
I’m sure all her other concerns followed: “Why, God, won’t you allow me to get pregnant? Why does everyone else get pregnant and I don’t? Why does Peninnah have babies so easily? She’s not even dedicated to you, Lord. I have being obedient and I try to follow you faithfully. You have given me a good husband but he hasn’t got a clue how I feel. I just don’t get it.”
You know how it is, one thing upsets you and all of a sudden you’re crying about all those other things, some from years ago you thought had been dealt with. They come rising to the surface.
We can bring all our problems to God.
Hannah also didn’t keep herself under control when she prayed. In fact, Eli thought Hannah had too much to drink. He saw her lips moving but no words coming out. However, I’m sure Eli observed more. A drunken person is not quiet. I’m sure as Hannah wept bitterly, she cried loudly. Perhaps she even staggered and swayed.
We do not have to worry about looking respectable when we pray.
Hannah also did one more thing—she kept on praying.
When we are troubled, we must keep coming back to prayer.
Scripture then tells us Hannah went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
Hannah felt so much better for pouring out her soul to God– her appetite came back and her depression lifted.
To find peace in our lives we need to bring our anxieties to God. We too can pour out our hearts to our heavenly Father, no matter now messy it may look. We need to keep returning to prayer.
Philippians 4:6-7 says the result of prayer, especially when you’re anxious, leads to the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.
Real peace comes through passionate prayer.
Where do you need peace in your life? Like Hannah, take the matter to God.
Dear Lord, thank you that when I bring all my worries to you, you replace my distress with your peace.
Rachel Britton is a British-born writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping women know their true worth so they can live boldly. Raised on the east coast of England, she now lives in New England with her husband and three children. Rachel cannot live without English tea and chocolate. Connect with Rachel at rachelbritton.com, on Facebook and Twitter @racheljbritton and Instagram @rachelj.britton
Kristine Brown says
Beautiful Rachel. I love Hanna’s story. But as much as I’ve studies about her, I didn’t realize this wonderful revelation you pointed out. She had been in God’s presence, and that’s where she gained her peace! I’m enjoying this series on peace, Stephanie. Thank you both!
Rachel Britton says
It’s wonderful isn’t it, Kristine, that Hannah experienced peace even before her prayer was answered. It’s a lesson, for myself too, in realizing peace comes from being with God and giving him our burdens and requests, rather than getting what we want.
rose noland says
I love this and how true! Prayer is the means to get peace. Communicating with the One who knows all and is in control brings incredible peace. Acknowledging that truth helps me submit to my Savior.
I also like your insight about her probably wailing out loud as she prayed. That better explains why Eli thought she was drunk!
Rachel Britton says
So true, Rose, communicating with the One who is Sovereign brings incredible peace.