Have you ever wanted something for years–that you have prayed for, cried for, begged God for? I have.
I attempt to live seeking God’s purpose for my life in the right now, but underneath there is still an anguish asking, “Why such a long wait?” “Will you ever say ‘yes’ to my prayer? Or will you give me a settling peace to know it will never be mine? Please just don’t keep me in this desperate place of longing!”
I know I am not alone in this experience, if only because of Hannah. In 1 Samuel you can read the account of her deep desire for a son which was unmet for years. She had to watch her sister-wife have child after child–taunted. Even though she had great favor from her husband it could not fill the depths of her longing; peace evaded her.
Finally in desperation, she poured her heart out to God at the temple. She was so visibly distressed that the priest believed her drunk. In her anguished prayer that day, she prayed for a son if only to dedicate him wholly back to God. God answered that prayer and gave her Samuel. She kept her promise, and once Samuel was weaned, she brought him to the temple to live and serve God. That boy grew up to be one of the greatest prophets in Israel’s history.
Was Hannah’s waiting in vain? No, for in her waiting, she released her greatest desire back to God as a sacrifice–and God used it mightily, in ways far exceeding Hannah’s imagination. Today, thousands of years later, we still read of her and her son! However, God did not use Hannah only to serve his purpose–he also blessed her with five other children.
I take comfort knowing that my waiting is not a sign that God has forgotten me. Instead, this waiting may bring about greater works than I can imagine. I take hope that the waiting will not be forever, and that like Hannah, once God’s purpose is fulfilled, my heart’s desire may be met.