In the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. — 1 Samuel 1:20
Have you ever cried over something so much that you run out of tears? Your swollen eyes just give out and dry up while a current of unrest still gushes through your soul. And you look up toward Heaven in utter frustration.
Me too. And there’s someone else in the Bible who was right there as well. She felt provoked and irritated. Her anguish was so intense that she wept and would not eat. Before the Lord, she cried out in bitterness of soul,
Lord Almighty, if You will only look on Your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget Your servant… then I will… — 1 Samuel 1:11
These words describe and articulate the deep distress of a woman from thousands of years ago, and yet here I sit in modern times relating so completely. They are from the woman named Hannah found in 1 Samuel 1.
Hannah’s tears over her empty womb were made even more painful by her husband’s other wife, Peninnah. She had many sons and daughters and made sure to rub this fact in Hannah’s face every chance she got.
A common thread weaves through Hannah’s story, and yours and mine. We can all be found desperately wanting something we see the Lord giving to other women. We see Him blessing them in the very areas He’s withholding from us. We look at them and feel set aside.
Why them? Why not me?
Then the seemingly unjust silence from God ushers us from a disturbed heart to a bitter soul. And we start to feel something deep inside that contradicts everything we hold true: If God is good, why isn’t He being good to me in this?
And in this moment of raw soul honesty, we’re forced to admit we feel a bit suspicious of God. We’ve done all we know to do. We’ve prayed all we know to pray. We’ve stood on countless promises with a brave face. And still nothing.
So what do we do when we feel set aside? What do we do when our hearts are struggling to make peace between God’s ability to change hard things and His apparent decision not to change them for us?
We do what Hannah did. We keep pressing in.
Instead of taking matters into her own hands, Hannah took her requests to God. Instead of pulling away from Him in suspicion, she pressed in ever closer, filling the space of her wait with prayer.
Oh, how I love her unflinching faith. Where barrenness and mistreatment by Peninnah could have caused Hannah to completely lose heart, she refused to be deterred from trusting in God. She possessed a faith that was not contingent upon her circumstances, but based on what she knew to be true about her good and faithful God. A faith that led her to pray with so much passion and boldness in the tabernacle that Eli, the high priest, accused her of being drunk (1 Samuel 1:13-14)!
And in a matter of four verses (1 Samuel 1:17-20), her cries of anguish gave way to the cries of her newborn son. Of course, 1 Samuel 1:20 uses very clear words to let us know Hannah’s answer didn’t come right away:
In the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. — (emphasis mine).
Samuel was born in God’s perfect timing. And the timing of his birth was imperative because Samuel was destined to play an integral role in the transition from the time of the judges to the eventual establishment of kingship for the Israelites.
God hadn’t made Hannah wait to punish her. He hadn’t been callous or indifferent to her cries. And He’s not ignoring those of us waiting either.
God loves us too much to answer our prayers at any other time than the right time.
Is there a prayer you’ve been waiting on God to answer for so long that you’re just about ready to give up? Keep pressing in to Him, friend. Don’t pull away. Fill the space where your heart aches with prayer, trusting that in the course of time everything will work out according to God’s perfect plan.
Father God, thank You so much for reminding me today that You are not ignoring me. You hear every cry of my heart. Will You please help me in the waiting? Help me trust Your perfect timing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Excerpted with permission from Embraced by Lysa TerKeurst, copyright Lysa TerKeurst.
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We all love God’s “yes”. His “no” can be painful, but the hardest answer sometimes is “not yet.” Waiting is hard. It’s can be confusing. For a long time. God’s promise to Hannah extends to us… “in the course of time.” He will answer. Not in our timing, but in His. Wait for it! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily