Sunday, July 2, 2017

Patiently Waiting

Patiently Waiting
July 3, 2017
1 Samuel 1:20 "So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son."

Hannah wanted so badly to have a child, any child.  She waited and tried and begged the Lord, and waited and tried and begged the Lord some more. But the Bible says the Lord closed her womb. It never said Hannah was barren or simply unable to have a child, but it said specifically that the Lord closed her womb. This closed womb represents a closed door. Hannah wanted so badly to walk through that door, but the Lord did not allow it. Hannah's husband had another wife, and the other wife was able to have children. The other wife taunted Hannah, made her feel like less of a human because she could not have a child. It seems Hannah was being punished by the Lord. He deliberately caused Hannah's inability to have children.

The Lord was not only responsible for Hannah's situation, but you could even blame Him, in a sense, for causing it. The Bible never records Hannah's sin for deserving such treatment; it just says that the Lord closed the door to the opportunity. It forced Hannah to wait patiently. I doubt she waited patiently, though, more like begging and pleading and begging and pleading of the Lord to change His mind. If I were Hannah, I would have felt like a caged animal, meant to run free but left pacing back and forth, back and forth. Hannah had no choice but to wait. I have no idea if she waited patiently or not for the Lord to open the door, but I do know she cried from her heart due to the pain of the situation.  I wonder though, when and why and how the Lord decided it was time to go ahead and open that door for her, to open her womb and allow her to have a child. He knew of her barrenness; He caused it, according to the Bible. She pleaded through her tears for the Lord to change His mind, to give her the opportunity to have a child. 

The Lord finally relented; He granted her prayer request to have a child. It is interesting to note that Hannah named the child Samuel. Samuel means, "because I asked the Lord for him." Did Hannah really need to ask the Lord? Was the Lord even teaching her patience? Was He trying to teach Hannah that He was in control? Was He trying to humble her? Did He speed up His willingness to grant her request because she cried and cried, in humble status? We will never know, but we do know that the Lord was in control the whole time and He knew what He was doing. He didn't need Hannah to tell Him that she wanted a child, to remind Him that she was unable to conceive. The Lord knew; He caused it.

My personal opinion on Hannah's waiting, was that she used the time to grow closer to the Lord rather than pull away. Why else would she be seen in the temple crying in sadness in front of the Lord? She could have been bitter with the Lord, but instead recognize He was the only one who could have honored the opportunity. She wasn't angry with Him for causing it; she was humbled that He alone could grant her the desires of her heart. She drew near to the Lord, and I think because of that, her waiting ended up in patience, at least teaching her patience in the end. It was probably more about patience and waiting on the Lord than it was anything else. She was a better follower of the Lord because of it, not worse. She wasn't resentful or hateful, she was grateful for the Lord, even if He didn't honor her request for the longest of time. It wasn't about the request, or her child, or the opened door; it was about her relationship with the One who controlled it all. She couldn't force the Lord's hand, she could only sit with Him and learn how to commune with him. Her waiting ended up in patience; she had no choice, even if her learning it came after the fact.

Today, you are waiting, but this is an opportunity to grow closer with Him. He already knows what you want and need, maybe He even caused it. But today, He is saying that your answer isn't just yet. Make the best of your time waiting for it and draw closer to the Lord. You may actually get the desires of your heart if your heart turns toward the Lord and not on what you actually want from Him.  If you let bitterness and resentfulness in, however, I doubt you'll get anything. 

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  1 Sam 1:1-20, Job 1:21, Is 20:31, Rom 8:28, James 4:8 

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