1 Samuel 1-2 tells a powerful story. I encourage you to read it for yourself if you have not, but here is a brief synopsis. This account tells about Hannah; she was unable to have children for years, which was a source of great pain for her. However, rather than wallowing in self-pity and becoming bitter and resentful, she chose to commit herself to prayer. She poured her heart out to God. Scripture says “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord.” Hannah promised God that if she were given a son, she would dedicate him to the Lord. The prophet Eli joined Hannah’s intercession as well, and scripture says that IN DUE TIME, the Lord blessed her with a son whom she named Samuel. As soon as Samuel was weaned, Hannah brought him to the Tabernacle and fully dedicated him to the Lord.
The words “in due time” jump off the page at me. Hannah did receive what she passionately prayed for, but it did not happen right away. What does “in due time” mean? One week? One month? One year? Seven years? Twenty years? We don’t know this information based on the text, but we do know there was some kind of waiting period. We all experience times of waiting in life; it is unavoidable, even in our instantaneous, microwave society.
But here is the question you should ask yourself: What do you do in the waiting? Will you allow God’s perfect plan enough time to unfold? Will you trust his process, standing on the promise that His ways are higher than your ways and that He loves you more than you can comprehend? Or will you lose hope and become bitter?
Friends, let me be transparent. I struggle greatly in the waiting; I might actually be driving the struggle bus in this area. I loathe traffic and long drive-thru lines, and PLEASE do not place me on hold when I call you! When my prayers take longer than I would like to be answered, I am easily discouraged and I am tempted to seek my own solutions to problems that are not mine to solve.
So if I struggle with this, why am I sharing with you all about the importance of trusting God in the waiting? Because Jesus loves me (and you!) too much to allow me to remain impatient, untrusting and immature. Lately, my life has been riddled with situations that require patience in the waiting. As a result, God has taught me how to place my trust in Him. God is using present struggles in my life to refine my faith and exponentially increase my joy that is in the Lord. And if I am sitting here, writing a blog about trusting the Lord’s plan, to include his timing, it really is true that nothing is impossible for God!
Look, God’s instructions for our role in the waiting are clear in scripture. Read these, and allow yourself to rest in God’s sovereignty:
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. (Psalm 37:7)
Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)
In the end, Hannah’s obedience in dedicating Samuel to the Lord was richly rewarded. The prophet Eli prayed the following prayer over Hannah: “May the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 2:20b). The Lord went above and beyond in honoring this prayer! Hannah gave birth to three more sons and two daughters. Hannah only asked for one son, but God blessed her with 6 children!
Today, I encourage you to place your trust in God’s plan AND His timing. Choose joy, even when things are uncertain and even when they seem hopeless. God will never leave you or forsake you, and he has good plans for your life – much better than any plans you could imagine on your own!
Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do super-abundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20 AMP)