We all seem to be waiting on something. Waiting on the next season, waiting to get married, waiting to have children, waiting to graduate, waiting to retire, etc. We are always looking to what is next, what's ahead. And there is nothing wrong with anticipating what is in store for us as we go forward, it becomes a problem though when we do not trust God, the promises of God, His timing and ways, and we stop truly living in those times of waiting.
Today I felt God lead me back to the book 1 Samuel to read the story of Hannah. Hannah had waited and waited to have children, she ached to conceive a sweet baby. In her waiting, her enemy taunted her, her enemy laughed in her face, showing off all her children as Hannah wailed in her bareness. She begged God for a son, and promised to give the child back to God, if He would only allow her to get pregnant.
"In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.” “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.”
Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” 1 Samuel 1:10-20
Hannah was experiencing great sorrow, even to the point that in the place of worship, the place of pouring out your heart to the Lord, she wailed so intensely that the priest thought she was intoxicated. But it was in this place of surrender, in this place of "God, I can't do this anymore!" that the Lord spoke to her through Eli. And you know what she did? She believed him and went on her way to eat some grub and not be depressed anymore. But she didn't stop with just believing and going on with her life. Hannah believed in such a way that it showed through her actions. She went home and slept with her husband, believing the Lord would do what He promised. She ACTED on the promise by REACTING in obedience.
Hannah did not continue to wallow in self-pity. She did as the messenger God sent said and went on her way in peace... in trusting the Lord and in submission to Him.
All too often I have found myself not doing as Hannah did. I find myself impatiently waiting, and in the waiting getting weary rather than drawing my strength from the Lord. Rather than trusting God to do what He says He will do I have found myself running around trying to make it happen myself rather than acting in obedience.
Instead of having hands wide open to receive the promise, we often times have our hands grasping for whatever cheap, knock-off version of the promise we can grab.
God has so much more in store for you. His promises and plans are, "to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11). Remember that verse, that promise?
It wasn't like Hannah immediately got what she was promised. Though God can act immediately, He often times makes us wait, and for good reason, way beyond our understanding. Hannah still had to wait, but it was in the course of time, it was in the course of acting in obedience, in being present in the present, in continuing to trust the Lord, that she became pregnant. And what Hannah received was far greater than she could have ever asked or imagined.
So if you are waiting, take heart. Don't be discouraged. Don't quit believing. Feel alone in it? Go read all the stories in the Bible of people who had to wait and received what God had spoken. If you are waiting, you are in good hands, you are in the hands of the Creator of all. He's got you. You just gotta believe it to the point of receiving it with gratitude before you can even see the promise come to be. We proclaim a God who does what He says He will do, Who gives graciously and generously, Who is just straight up altogether good. Yet we don't live what we claim sometimes. Waiting isn't for killing time-- there is purpose in it. God is fulfilling His promises to you. Place yourself in a position of receiving it and believing it.
"God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful." 1 Thessalonians 5:24
"The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen." Isaiah 14:24