He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
Hannah had no children.
Year after year, Peninnah persistently irritated Hannah about the fact that she had no children. She provoked her until Hannah broke down and cried.
Isn’t that sad? Not only was Hannah not able to bear children, but she was also tortured by the one woman who could provide sons for their husband. She had the love of her husband, but she that didn’t solve her problem. She was frustrated with the fact that there wasn’t anything she could do to fix her problem.
So she prayed.
She prayed so fervently and with such anguish that she got the attention of Eli the priest. He told her to go and God would give her what she wanted. She immediately believed God would do it.
I think a lot of Christians do that kind of praying. We try to be patient and endure whatever may come. Then when we get so frustrated by our inability to get what we feel we should have, we fall on our face and pray to God.
I wonder what would happen if we’d listen to God earlier in the scenario. Does God wait until we’ve cried our last tear before he acts? I don’t think so.
I don’t think we see things the same way God does. Maybe he waits on us to act on our faith. Maybe he wants to see if the thing we want is going to be ahead of him in our list of priorities. Maybe he waits for us to throw away the arrogant notion that it was our idea to want the thing.
When we get to the point that it has to be God making it happen, we can never claim the gift as our own creation. We can never own the miracle. It’s God’s hand at work, not ours.
We are his children, after all. He knows our tendencies and weaknesses. Some of us generally lean toward self-sufficiency. I think God tries to do what is necessary to keep our attention on him.
He wants to help us achieve success, but we have to wait for God’s plan. He sees things we don’t see. That includes pitfalls as well as successes. He knows what will trip us up and what will help us triumph.
Hannah had no children. And then she had a very important child.
If we’ll trust God’s plan, our obedience will speed us to the victory.