Months ago, I was digging into the story of Hannah from 1 Samuel. Unable to have children, she cried out to the Lord who gave her baby Samuel. It’s an amazing account of her faith and perseverance, as well as God’s love and miracle-working power.
Many of us know the story in its entirety, so we know there are blessings coming, but Hannah didn’t. She didn’t know if or how or when her deep desire for a child would be granted, much less the twists and turns her journey would take along the way. Hannah shows us what it looks like to wait well, despite incredible heartache and difficulties.
While I was reading through her story, one scripture stopped me in my tracks:
“…and the LORD remembered her.” 1 Samuel 1:19
Did He forget about her? Not for one second.
The word “remembered” as it’s used in this verse doesn’t imply that God forgot; rather, it places an emphasis on His faithfulness and care.
Throughout scripture, we find that attention and action typically follow the phrase, “God remembered.” For example, “God remembered Noah…and the waters receded.” (Genesis 8:1), or “God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb.” (Genesis 30:22).
Let’s make it a little more personal. Do you believe that God will remember you?
Maybe you can’t be so sure because all you see are the conditions around you. Maybe your hope for change or for a dream fulfilled is diminishing with each passing day. The possibilities for heartache are innumerable:
A dead marriage or one in the thick of crisis. Gut-wrenching infertility. Shame or guilt that you can’t escape. A job, promotion, or title that always seems just beyond your reach. Health issues. Struggles with your kids that are never-ending. That buried secret that no one knows. Debt that seems you’ll never climb out of. A searing loss that has left you gutted. A dream that you were certain was God-given, yet it simply isn’t working out like you thought it would. Addictions that seem impossible to overcome. Fear that has left you paralyzed, convincing you that one more step simply can’t be taken. And these are just a few.
What do we do with these heartaches and longings? What do we do in the waiting?
We recognize that we have a choice and we choose to go to Him. Our wonderful Counselor. The Creator of all. The mighty miracle Worker. The Messiah. Our ultimate Provider and Father. The unchanging King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The all-powerful Redeemer and Prince of peace.
We open our clenched fists in surrender because we choose to trust in Who He is and His sovereignty. Regardless of what our feelings or circumstances tell us. His plans are for our eventual good and for His everlasting kingdom, whether we can see or understand their purpose or His timeline.
The breeding grounds for faith don’t include us knowing all the details.
Our lives are tremendously rich and peaceful beyond understanding when we actively place our trust in Him. That doesn’t mean our lives will be without troubles; it means we can bear anything in this life, because we know He is with us and we know what is to come.
Because of Him, we can be strengthened. Because of Him, we can have victory, knowing we are more than a conqueror. Because of Him, we can confidently embrace hope and fear has no place. Because of Him, we can not only wait, but we can wait and endure well.
Modeling after Hannah, here are a few points to encourage us. Also, because I’m a fan of acronyms and the word itself, remember G.R.I.T:
G – Go to God.
At one point in Hannah’s story, she leaves the family table, distraught, and pursues God through prayer. The phrase, “go to God,” sounds like a super churchy thing to say, but what does it mean? Choosing to go to God means seeking Him through prayer, studying His word, fasting, worshipping, etc.
We live in a time when we are constantly distracted, giving our full attention less and less often. So, let’s be clear. If you choose God first, that means you didn’t choose something else first. Whether it be social media, the next self-help book or podcast, or any of the other plethora of information or entertainment available, it’s not a replacement for going to Him.
R – Respond with humility and grace.
Hannah does this beautifully, both while waiting and in response to others (her name literally means grace). Let’s not allow the misconduct or misjudgment of others to derail us on our journey with Jesus. Let’s keep our eyes fixed and our arms locked with the King.
Are we going to do this perfectly, all the time? Of course not. But this world has enough women who show up with knee-jerk emotions and actions. Let’s choose to live counter culturally, being confident in who we are in Him, and thus, being gracious and humble with our words and in our actions.
What will God do through your prayers?
I – Immerse in prayer.
How many times do you think Hannah prayed for a child? 1,000? 10,000 times? And yet, she kept praying. We’re told in Philippians 4:6 to take ALL our requests to Him. So, let’s pray like Hannah – boldly and specifically! Don’t worry about concocting the perfect prayer, or get tangled up thinking how long it’s been since you’ve prayed.
Just start talking to God; your Father loves to hear from you.
Pour out your struggles, heartaches, deferred hopes, longings and grief to Him. Hannah’s prayers are proof that praying can change things, no matter how conditions may seem. Her faithfulness in prayer didn’t just impact her life, it influenced an entire nation. What will God do through your prayers?
T – Take the next right step in the waiting.
Hannah models obedience for us extremely well by simply taking the next right step. Waiting is not a passive process. Blessings are in the obedience and there are some things that can only be learned in the waiting.
Thankfully, we’re not left alone to struggle and figure out the next step, based on our limited visibility or power. If we’re not sure what the next step is, we have the honor and privilege of being able to ask Him. We can be certain that He hears us and will guide us. Surrounding ourselves with trusted, truth-telling people of peace will help us encourage and hold each other accountable as well.
Know that you are loved and delighted in more than you could ever begin to comprehend.
Nothing you can bring to God will surprise Him or throw Him off His game. Nothing you can bring to Him is too far gone or without hope. Nothing is beyond His redemption or resurrection power. Nothing. So, choose to embrace Him closely and wait well. He absolutely sees you and remembers you.
(For more, visit www.discipleshipforwomen.com. Used with permission.)