Few of us are comfortable being vulnerable with others, especially not in public. For most of us, this means hiding or disguising the fear and hurt we feel. We would rather wear a plastic mask presenting the notion that we have our lives together and that we are good, happy even, when in reality our souls are being crushed within us. We don’t want others to see or to know that we are in pain or that we are barely holding on for dear life. To admit the struggle seems rather unspiritual, rather untrusting. And so, we press on with a stiff upper lip, hoping no one catches on to what we are really experiencing.
We can learn much from Hannah here, as she laid her soul bare before the Lord and whoever else happened to be worshiping near her. There was no plastic mask, no stiff upper lip, no façade. Only tears—many tears. Hannah was more concerned with presenting her pain before the Lord than presenting false strength before others. She was feeling crushed in spirit. She was in great need. So she wept.
What we need to realize is that the tears rolling down Hannah’s cheeks were not a sign of weakness but rather strength. Each tear, each sob, and each gasp for breath in between was an evidence of Hannah’s recognition that to be real and transparent before God is what matters. We might fool others, but we will never fool Him, so why try? It does no one any good. Instead, God wants us to be real with Him and with others. When we do, we show how God is able to meet us in our greatest times of need, in our greatest anguish, to provide mercy, grace, love, and comfort. And we show others that they are not alone in their pain and can also cry out to the Lord.
What are some ways you might be wearing a mask before others, or perhaps even before God?