I was reading in I Samuel about Hannah. She really had it hard. Having to share a husband, being tormented daily by the “other wife”, and being barren… It just wasn’t a good situation. One day she just has to get up and get by herself. She was in front of the temple, crying out to the Lord, and gets accused of being drunk… For some people, that would be the last straw… can’t even get encouragement at church… I can understand her anguish… I’ve been at that point where I have been ready to just utter the words, “I’m done”.
But that is not what really caught me in my reading…
The other character in my reading… Eli. He is sitting in the door of the temple, and he notices Hannah. He really does think she is drunk, and throws out a “get your life together, woman!” imperative. He doesn’t get up, spend time with her, do any counseling, understand her plight, nothing. Eli is not invested in this random woman who doesn’t seem to be right in the head, at least to Eli.
Hannah in the simplest of terms explains her plight… well, not so much. Just that she is hurting and crying out to the Lord. She doesn’t tell Eli what her request is, why she is so grief stricken… only that she is…
“Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him”. That’s it… No, “let me pray for you”… no, “let’s agree together”… no, “I believe God has a word for you”… In fact, I think Eli was more concerned with getting her out from in front of the temple than he was with her plight.
I really don’t think he realized the power in his words.
– Hannah’s spirit was lifted
– Hannah’s barrenness was broken
– Hannah’s request was answered
Was it because Eli “agreed” with her in her prayer? Well, that’s too simple a formula. But I do believe there is something to him speaking a word in due time.
My mom (and probably yours too) always said, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”… what if we flipped that on its head? What if we can always say something nice? or useful? or encouraging? What if we can, whether we realize it or not, speak a good word… agree with someone’s prayer… choose to uplift rather than tear down? The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue… I think that is more true than we realize.
I am praying that my words offer more open doors than closed ones… more open arms than folded ones… more answered prayers than condemning words… I encourage you to position yourself to offer a good word in due time. it doesn’t have to be a crazy prophetic word… it could be as simple as Eli’s word, simple yet powerful enough to lift someone from the chains with which they are bound and set them free enough to believe that their prayers can actually be answered…
Sometimes you don’t need words… sometimes you might just need to let loose to encourage someone else… Have fun with this one 🙂