The Waiting Game
I absolutely adore the story of Hannah and Samuel... Partially because it is extremely relatable and partially because it’s just beautiful. The story of Hannah begins in 1 Samuel:
1-2 There once was a man who lived in Ramathaim. He was descended from the old Zuph family in the Ephraim hills. His name was Elkanah. (He was connected with the Zuphs from Ephraim through his father Jeroham, his grandfather Elihu, and his great-grandfather Tohu.) He had two wives. The first was Hannah; the second was Peninnah. Peninnah had children; Hannah did not.
3-7 Every year this man went from his hometown up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the priests of God there. When Elkanah sacrificed, he passed helpings from the sacrificial meal around to his wife Peninnah and all her children, but he always gave an especially generous helping to Hannah because he loved her so much, and because God had not given her children. But her rival wife taunted her cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that God had not given her children. This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite.
8 Her husband Elkanah said, “Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren’t you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons?”
9-11 So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to God’s Temple in the customary seat. Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably.
(The rest of the story continues with 1 Samuel 12. Read it!!)
There are so many powerful things in the first half of the story, but here is what I want to hit on:
Don't miss the blessing while waiting for the promise. Every single day, GOD. IS. GOOD, and every single day God wants to speak to your heart. He wants to show you how much He loves you. One verse says that Hannah would not eat. A meal wasn’t what she wanted, but it was what she needed. She was refusing nourishment: the very thing that would help her carry her promise. Hannah was more focused on where she was rather than where God was taking her. How parallel is that to our lives? Sometimes we are so downcast because we aren't where we want to be that we miss the very blessing that will enable us to carry (and eventually receive) our promise.
What I love most about Hannah is that she 1. Pulled herself together and 2. Did not wait to worship God. Hannah worshipped God in spite of the fact that she had not received her promise. Everywhere she looked she saw someone who was living her dream while she felt empty. Hannah made a choice to go to the temple to be filled by God. Can you worship God before the fruition of your promise, or are you more after God's promises than His presence?
God did bless Hannah with a son. She named him Samuel, and she kept her promise to God by sending him to the temple to be raised there. Amazing! However, the story doesn’t end there. God blessed Hannah with five children. Out of Hannah’s one prayer came so many blessings. You can’t tell me that God doesn’t see our tears and hear our prayers!
Hannah’s promise didn’t just change her world; it changed an entire nation. Samuel grew up to be a powerful man of God. He led God’s chosen people, and that’s exactly the vision that God has for our lives. Not only will the things that He wants to do in and through us help us, but they will be a blessing to the people in our world.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
I just want to encourage you that God sees. He sees the desires of your heart, and He sees the tears that you have cried. Keep worshipping God as he makes the necessary arrangements to fulfill your promise. God WILL be faithful to fulfill every promise that He made to you.