Waiting. No one likes to wait! Why is this? Is it selfishness? Is it impatience? Is it a lack of trust in the goodness of our Heavenly Father? Regardless of what causes the great dislike of waiting, none of us like it.
Recently I moved to Miami, Florida. One day I was on Facebook and saw an add for ‘Amazon Prime Now’ service. This add promised that if I placed an order, I would have the package within 2 hours. This seemed too good to be true, so I placed an order (Great marketing on their behalf)! Needless to say, it was true! I had my package in just over an hour delivered to my front door! I was impressed!
The thing is, however, Amazon already offered quick shipping services as they offered 2-day or next day shipping. Over the years, I have ordered hundreds of packages through Amazon and I was always satisfied with the shipping time. What led the higher ups of the organization to sit around and say, “we need shipping to be faster” or “We need packages delivered the same day.”
The reason higher ups came to this conclusion is because we live in an instant gratification society. We simply do not like to wait. We have been programmed to want everything NOW!
But what if I told you that waiting has a purpose? What if I told you that when you can not patiently wait on the Lord to open up doors, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn to trust Him. Now I know that this statement wont make you happy in the dark seasons of waiting, but I can tell you that there is a purpose in your waiting. Through waiting, our Heavenly Father molds our character. He brings us to a place of trust. He strips our selfish desires from us. He strips our dependence on other people from us. He roots out all of the unnecessary filth and baggage from our lives.
Throughout the Bible, we see a constant theme of waiting. Just this morning I started reading 1 Samuel and the theme that I saw was one of waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting for the Lord’s perfect timing. Hannah was a young lady that loved the Lord, yet we are told in verse 2 of chapter 1 that she was barren. Now Hannah wasn’t barren because of a medical emergency, or because of some other reason. Hannah’s infertility was no accident. It was a deliberate work of the Lord Himself when He decided that He did not want her to have children at that moment (1 Samuel 1:6).
When we read the Bible it is easy to just read it as stories. But what we always have to keep at the forefront of our minds is that these aren’t just stories, they are real life descriptions. Hannah truly walked on this earth. Hannah truly wanted kids. Hannah truly sought the Lord and prayed for kids. We must not view this as just a story, because we will lose the significance if we do.
Another mistake that we often make when reading the Bible, is we lose focus on just how much time is passing. When we can see a problem in the Scriptures solved within one chapter, our minds translate it to mean that there was quick or instant gratification in the story. We can not fall into this trap.
The Scriptures say that Hannah went “year by year” to the temple to offer sacrifices. Year by year she went with no child. Now stop and think about that. Year by year. This isn’t just one year. It certainly implies that it was more than two years. I don’t know exactly how many years this was going on, but the fact of the matter is we are dealing with years as a means to measure the time that Hannah waited for the Lord. Not minutes. Not hours. Not days. Not weeks. Not months but YEARS!
Now I don’t know what you are going through currently. Something has led you to keep reading this post. But as your brother in Christ, I can tell you that sometimes the Lord will have us waiting for long periods of time. I know this from experience (even currently I’m waiting). Maybe you have been praying for a solution to your problem and it seems that heaven has remained silent. Maybe you have remained faithful to your God through this difficult season, and I would encourage you to hang on.
For some reason, Christians tend to think that they have to be super holy. What I mean is that there is this prevailing mindset that when things aren’t going well, that we should still “count it all as joy” while we wait. The good news is that we don’t have to pretend everything is okay. My encouragement to you is don’t feel like you need to pretend to have it all together! It is okay to weep. It is okay to be frustrated. Remember, we do not follow a God that is “unable to sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).” Jesus knows what it means to experience the emotions that you are experiencing. He knows what it is like to agonize over prayer and wait for an answer from Heaven.
Likewise, Hannah shows emotions as well. The Scriptures tell us that “Hannah wept and would not eat.” Additionally is says, “she was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.” Not only was Hannah barren, but she was also being ridiculed by a “rival” of hers. This rival had the very thing that Hannah wanted, so she would mock her and “provoke her grievously to irritate her.”
Do you have people like this in your life? In a modern culture, maybe you do not necessarily have people like this in your life, but maybe you are seeing the lives of others through a computer screen. What you see is that there appear to be a lot of people out there that have the very thing that you want or that you have been waiting for. As you see this, the screen mocks, provokes, and irritates you. This is Hannah’s story. She is being mocked to the point of depression.
Imagine some of the questions racing through Hannah’s mind! “Lord, if you would only give me a child I wouldn’t have to endure this.” “Lord, why would you give the wicked a child and not me?” “Lord, I have been faithful to you.” “Lord, why are you silent.” “Lord, all I want is a family.” “Lord, you said that we should be fruitful.” “Lord, do you even love me?”
Hannah is a fragile and weak human being like us. But one thing that we can say in a positive light about Hannah, is she kept seeking the Lord. Year by year she returned to the temple to worship. She didn’t allow her depression to distinguish the flame that she had inside of her. She didn’t allow her apparent unanswered prayers to keep her away from her Heavenly Father. She continued to search after Him. She continued to make petitions to Him and she continued to elevate Him as her God.
Friend, don’t allow your waiting to put our your flame. I implore you to continue worshipping your Father. Maybe you feel numb towards Him because it has been so long that you have been asking Him for help and you continue to wait. I ask that you stop reading this and talk to your Father right now! I ask that you get to the end of yourself and throw yourself at the feet of your gracious and loving Heavenly Father. After being under severe distress, the Bible tells us that Hannah, “rose early in the morning and worshipped before the Lord.”
Finally, I ask you to continue to graciously wait. The Lord may have you wait a lot longer, or He may open doors for you now. Regardless of the time frame, we are encouraged to trust in the Lord and continue following Him. The only true joy that can be found in this lifetime is the joy of being closely connected to our God.
The Lord remembered Hannah and ultimately gave her a son. But even in receiving this beautiful gift from the Lord, she had to wait. We are told that she had her child in “due time.” What does due time mean? It means when the Lord was ready to give her a son, after many very long years of preparation, she received the gift of a child from her Father. Friend, hang on. The Lord is in control as Hannah reminds us, “The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and He exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; He lifts the needy form the ash heap.”
Your ‘due time’ is coming!
If you find yourself in a season of waiting, I encourage you to:
1) Trust the Lord with your life!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
2) Continue seeking Him!
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on…But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:25; 33
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7