Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Have you ever felt misunderstood? That word surfaced in my spirit this morning during my devotional time and I was led to the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel.

12Now it came about, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli was watching her mouth.
13As 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.
14Then Eli said to her, "How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you."
15But 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."
17Then Eli answered and said, "Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him."

This small portion of scripture is rich in lessons:

  • Be careful before you assess a situation prematurely. Especially be careful before you spout off too quickly with criticism and rebuke. Your assessment could be 180 degrees from the truth. We have all been Eli's before. (At least I know I have have.)

  • Realize that these misunderstandings can happen in seemingly "safe" places (the house of the Lord) and come from seemingly "safe" people (a priest).

  • A gracious attitude and a respectful, loving response to someone who has misunderstood you can be the very avenue that God uses to answer your prayer. At the very least, "walking in love," with those who misunderstand us and respond harshly to us is imperative in keeping our hearts right before the Lord.
In this scripture, Eli ends up replying favorably to Hannah's God-honoring response, but sometimes in our lives, the story doesn't always play out like that. There are times that the anticipated response from "Eli" is not favorable. In addition, sometimes we aren't even given the opportunity to respond at all. Whatever the case, we must strive to keep our attitudes and our hearts pure, even if we have to endure long seasons of being misunderstood.