Are there any places in scripture that you have a hard time reading? The story from First Samuel about Hannah and her barrenness used to be one I liked to skim or skip for years. I would read the first chapter and get to the part where Elkanah would give his wife Peninnah and her flock of children portions of food from the offering he made to the Lord, then verse 5, “But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb.” Ouch. Like a needle’s sharp prick in my soul those words sounded. The Lord brought upon her the most difficult affliction a woman could bear in those days. Not to mention the normal desire most women have to bear little ones for the sheer joy of motherhood.
- By keeping your focus on what you do not have.
- Intensifying the pain of an unmet desire in your heart that God COULD fill if He chose to.
- By twisting and attacking the character of God in the areas of His goodness, gentleness, love and intimate care.
- His timing will intensify when you have opportunity to go to church, a home group, a prayer meeting, or when you sit down in the corner chair of your living room with a Bible.
- Remember me and look on this affliction You have brought into my life. The Hebrew word for affliction pertains to suffering, trouble, hardship and misery. God has big enough shoulders and great enough love for you to bring your disappointment to Him. It is good when we tell Him that this trial is too much for us to bear and we seek Him to bear it for us.
- I am Your maidservant. Her perspective of herself was not arrogant or one of entitlement. But in contrast to God, she was His slave to serve Him and His purposes. She felt she had no rights but a humble request.
- Give me. She asks the Lord for a “gift” from Him. She cannot fulfill her own heart’s desire nor change the circumstances in her life. She cannot seal the mouth of her adversary, escape the years of taunting and provocations, dull the pain in her heart, nor heal the grief that finds no contentment in anyone or anything else.
- I will give…to the Lord. This was her commitment. Any gift given to her would be held with open hands and returned to the Lord for His purposes. She purposed that God’s gift would not fatally embraced for selfish reasons, but released and enjoyed in the measure she was called to fulfill.
The Lord does not always give us exactly what we crave, but He always gives us that which is best. There are times when His answer will be like Hannah’s and we receive exactly what we prayed for. There are other times where God’s wisdom knows that what we ask for is not the best for us or for others or will not bring Him the greatest glory. And in these times, His grace is sufficient for us. And then there are times where His answer is His promise from Isaiah 30:18 “And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.” Isn’t that wonderful of God?