“As she was praying to the LORD, Eli watched her. Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. ‘Must you come here drunk?’ he demanded. ‘Throw away your wine!’" (1 Samuel 1:12-14 – New Living Translation).
Don’t you hate misunderstandings? Sitcoms are built on them. One character misunderstands what another is doing, and you get thirty minutes of mayhem. Too bad life’s misunderstandings don’t always end up in laughs. Some do, but most have an ending where friendships change and feelings get hurt.
Hannah certainly knew what it meant to be misunderstood. As she was in the Temple praying, the High Priest thought she was drunk! Did you catch that? In the place where one would think they would get the most understanding, Hannah’s actions are misunderstood in the Temple. She is misunderstood by the High Priest, and one would think he would be the most understanding. She was misunderstood while engaged in the act and attitude of prayer, and one would think that would be the last thing you would be doing and be misunderstood.
Hannah was misunderstood by her High Priest, in her church, while doing something spiritual…that’s hard to swallow. She obviously didn’t think so. Do you want to know why? She KNEW that God understood. She didn’t take offense. She didn’t leave her church (Temple) in a rage. She didn’t slander or try to run off her preacher (the High Priest). She didn’t get out of religion (stop praying). What she did was very clearly explain what was going on in her life (1 Samuel 1:15-16). The priest, then, prayed blessing on her. No relationships were destroyed; no feelings of bitterness reigned; no revenge was necessary; no lives destroyed by slander. Why? Hannah KNEW God understood, swallowed her pride, and explained herself. Granted, she shouldn’t have HAD to explain herself, but she did.
I wish the Church would grasp this. So many Christian folks hop from congregation to congregation because of misunderstandings about their actions from their preachers and fellow congregants. So many relationships are altered or ended by misunderstandings. Feelings get hurt, often with no one knowing the wound but the one who was hurt.
Have you ever been misunderstood? God knows. He is fully aware of your intentions. Look at Hannah’s prayer in chapter two of 2 Samuel. You will see a formerly misunderstood lady praising God for His greatness and for His kindness to her. She didn’t leave the Temple experience bitter, but better.
If you have been misunderstood, and it caused hurt, trust me, God knows. In the future, if you are misunderstood, stop, swallow hurt and pride, and explain yourself. It could mean the world of difference in a relationship with an individual, your spiritual leaders, and your congregation.