>Home >Devotional


Hope for the Troubled Heart

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Isa. 32:17, 18, NIV.

Hannah wanted a son almost more than life itself. No longer could she take the jealousy and taunting of Peninnah, the wife that Elkanah took so he could have children. So in agony she silently pleaded with the Lord.

When Eli the priest saw her lips move in silent prayer, he drew the hasty conclusion that she was drunk and reprimanded her. "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine" (1 Sam. 1:14, NIV). His reaction must have added insult to injury to Hannah's troubled heart. "'Not so, my lord,' Hannah replied, 'I am a woman who is deeply troubled. . . . Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief'" (verses 15, 16, NIV).

Chagrined, Eli said, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him" (verse 17, NIV).

Immediately Hannah felt better. Hope changes things. She felt hungry, then ate something, and her face no longer mirrored despair.

Unwanted mental distress comes, in one form or another and at various times of life, to practically everyone. It can be triggered by thwarted hopes, severe disappointment, grief, remorse, unfulfilled ambitions, or as in Hannah's case, a problem that has no obvious solution.

The best way for God-fearing persons to respond to distress is to do as Hannah did—pour out your soul to the Lord.

Mental distress is an unnatural, unhealthy state of mind. When allowed to persist, it upsets the balance by which the brain unconsciously regulates the actions of the body's various organs. Thus any one of the so-called functional diseases may develop, such as stomach ulcer, colitis, some kinds of arthritis, heart difficulties, some forms of diabetes, persistent headache, and sexual aberrations. Science has proved Ellen White right when she said, "The sympathy which exists between the mind and the body is very great. When one is affected, the other responds. The condition of the mind has much to do with the health of the physical system" (Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 60).

When distressed, remember: "When we beseech the Lord to pity us in our distress, and to guide us by His Holy Spirit, He will never turn away our prayer" (Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 132).

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.