"But Hannah answered, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink; but I was pouring out my soul before the Lord. Regard not your handmaid as a wicked woman; for out of my great complaint and bitter provocation I have been speaking.'"
I Samuel 1: 15, 16, Amplified Bible
"The Power of Patience"
"To lengthen my patience is the best way to shorten my troubles."
Have I ever found myself in a situation where I became impatient and said something or acted in a way that only made things worse?
What have I learned in my life about the virtue of "patience?"
"(She) who possesses patience, possesses (herself)."
"The weak (woman) is impetuous, the strong is patient."
"Hey there woman, you drunkard. Don't come around here like that again. Our church doesn't need your type. Get out of here. Take a hike!"
This was the basic greeting Hannah was met with when, in deep sorrow, she arrived at church, ready to pour out her heart to her heavenly Father.
Falsely accused of being drunk, one would expect a rebuttal from the one who was being falsely impugned. And quite frankly, if a pastor had attacked me the way Eli attacked poor Hannah, I can assuredly tell you my response would not have been a very polite one and certainly not a patient one.
However, Hannah had been through the fire of tribulation and the furnace of purification. Don't forget, from the time she found out she couldn't bear a child, to the day her husband married a "fertile womb" who could give him offspring, Hannah had been tortured with unkind words and bitter jabs. And it was in this time of affliction, where she learned the lesson of patience. For not only did Hannah wait patiently for her prayers to be answered, she also learned the lesson of patience that keeps your tongue in check and your actions under heavenly control.
When Hannah replied to Eli's cruel words of condemnation, instead of saying, "You jerk, how dare you falsely accuse me," with a gentleness that is beyond comprehension, she replied to Eli, "No, my lord." Frankly, I can think of other more deserving things to call Eli than the respectful title Hannah chose to address him with, "My lord." -- a term of honor and dignity. What a complete opposite of the way Eli chose to degrade Hannah by calling her a drunk. However, in the House of Contention, which we studied about a few weeks ago, Hannah learned that, "True patience is to suffer the wrongs done to us by others in an unruffled spirit and without feeling resentment. Patience bears with others because it loves them." It was this kind and loving understanding that Hannah bestowed upon the unworthy Eli.
With tenderness of heart, Hannah laid out to Eli the sorrow that had driven her to the point of desperation. "I was pouring out my soul before the Lord," she told him. How brave an act. How bold a woman to share her deepest heartache with someone who up to this point, had shown no concern for her.
And then, in what I consider to be some of the most astounding words, Hannah asked Eli to, "Regard not your handmaid as a wicked woman." Wait a minute! These are the words coming from the one who was falsely accused, not the other way around. All I can say is, "What a daughter of God." If we take a moment to look at these words in the King James Version of the Bible, we find something very interesting. Hannah said to Eli: "Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial." STOP! (I haven't used A Transformation Garden "STOP" sign for a long time but this passage requires it!) Remember a few days ago, where in I Samuel 2: 12, we found that the Bible says, "The sons of Eli were sons of Belial," which in the Hebrew meant they were worthless? Now Hannah says to Eli, "I'm not a daughter of Belial. I am not like your sons. I'm not acting like them. And furthermore, I'm not worthless!" Isn't the Bible amazing - how God underscores the fact that indeed Eli's harsh judgment of Hannah was tainted by the despotic behavior of the boys who lived in his own home. But there's more. God doesn't want His girls called worthless - especially when we know who our Father is.
Hannah continued, "I am not a daughter of Belial, I'm speaking only from a heart of abundant pain and grief that has overwhelmed me." (I Samuel 1: 15, 16). Hannah went so far as to refer to herself as the handmaid. Instead of taking an arrogant tone, which she could have after such humiliating treatment, Hannah referred to herself as a servant or maid, a humble position, in direct contrast to the powerful position Eli chose to act from.
What a lesson Hannah teaches us about the ability to be patient during adversity and how effective a tool it can be in turning the tide. There is a beautiful and instructional Chinese proverb which says, "If you are patient in one day of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow."
All I can say is, "Thank you Hannah!" She said the truth, "I am not a daughter of Belial. I am not worthless. I am the daughter of the Most High God."
The great inventor and painter Leonardo da Vinci weighed in with a very interesting observation about patience "Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will be powerless to vex your mind."
"Patience is the queen of the virtues."
"Patience with other is Love,
Patience with self is Hope,
Patience with God is Faith."
"O Thine Prince of Peace, who, when Thou wast reviled reviledst not again, and on the cross didst pray for Thy murderers, implant in our hearts the virtues of gentleness and patience, that we may overcome evil with good, for Thy sake love our enemies, and as children of our heavenly Father seek Thy peace, and evermore rejoice in Thy love; through Jesus Christ our Saviour."
Treasury of Devotion
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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