“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. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.’ Then Eli answered, ‘Go in peace.’ Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah.” 1 Samuel 1:15-17,19
Hannah, beloved by her husband Elkanah, was a troubled woman. Provoked and irritated by his other wife Peninah, barren and therefore looked down upon, anguished in longing and feeling empty, she poured out her heart to the Lord. Eli the priest observed her silent but moving lips as she prayed at the temple, and initially misunderstood her as drunk. But there was something about her interaction with the Divine during this prayer, and Eli’s blessing, that set her heart at peace. There is nothing like the release of our cares, hurts, consternations, unmet desires, what-ifs, to the great Burden Bearer. He meets with us, He hears, He receives, He says, “I have this, and I have you.”
I remember a time years ago when I had been greatly weighed down by a particular care, and it came back to mind. I knew I had shared it with someone and felt that comfort and liberation of a shared burden….but I couldn’t recall which friend it was. The more I thought, the specific night came back to me. I had taken a walk and poured out my every thought to my Lord! He was my dearest friend and confidante, He the One in Whom I’d found release!
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!” ~Joseph Medlicott Scriven (1855)
Prince of Peace, I release all my concerns to You, knowing You care for me. You who carried every burden to the cross still delight to carry them for Your own today. Guard my heart, keep me coming to You in thankful, constant prayer. (Isaiah 9:6; 1 Peter 5:7)