But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 1 Samuel 1:15
Hannah was a wife of Elkanah, and was unable to have children. Back in that time, it was looked down upon and was considered to be shameful in the eyes of society to say the least. She was scorned and made to feel worthless, so much that she grieved and refused to eat. She was in “bitterness of soul” as it said in verse 10 of this same chapter. She prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. That’s about as bad as it gets in the sorrows department, and I know some of us can relate to this with something we’ve faced in life.
Eli the priest thought she was a blabbering drunk by the way she conducted herself at the house of the Lord. She poured out so much of her soul that her lips moved but her voice was not heard. Behind all the grief she explained that she was indeed sober, just of a sorrowful spirit. She was so brokenhearted that she didn’t care any longer who saw her grieve.
While some people drown their sorrows with alcohol, drugs, addictions, busyness… they are just trying to bury their problems by pouring into themselves. They also pour in self-pity, worthlessness, and hopelessness, trying to justify things and stir the pot. While this might temporarily extinguish the pain or at least neutralize it, the full pain soon returns and the cycle starts all over again.
Hannah teaches us an extremely valuable lesson here. Instead of pouring into herself, she pours out. She takes all the bitterness and anguish, and pours it out to the Lord. She gives it to God. I have been in both situations in my life with pouring in and pouring out. And what I have learned, pouring out makes room for God to fill us with His love, peace, and reassurance. It’s only when we empty ourselves and give our burdens to the Lord that He can fill us.
Elder Steve Smith