Last week I did a pretty in depth study on Sarah and Hannah's desire to have children.
Sarah was so desperate to have a child that she took matters into her own hands - forcing Hagar to sleep with Abraham in order that he would have children. (Genesis 16).
Oh how she complicated things, creating a bunch of unnecessary baggage (or luggage as my mom would say). She got so consumed with baby fever that she couldn't wait on God's timing.
We see in Genesis 21 that all along God's plan had been to bless Sarah with a child, it just didn't happen as quickly as Sarah would have liked it to.
I love what Kelly Minter had to say about Sarah's predicament:
"God had a beautiful plan for Sarah in spite of how bleak things looked. Definitely she was in a bind. She had a genuine cause for concern. But that's always going to be the place where our faith is tested. If it all looks easy and doable, it doesn't require faith."
So, where as, Sarah decided to take things into her own hands, Hannah decided to trust God and WAIT.
In 1st Samuel, we read that Hannah was in pain because she couldn't conceive. The Lord had closed her womb, but instead of Hannah trying to "fix" things, her pain drove her closer to God.
"I was pouring out my soul to the Lord....I have been praying here out of great anguish and grief." (1st Samuel 1:15-16)
The Lord heard Hannah's heartfelt prayers and blessed her with a son, who she named Samuel "Because I asked the Lord for him." (1st Samuel 1:20)
Oh how I pray I follow in Hannah's footsteps. That I don't try and take things into my own hands like Sarah did.
Like Hannah, I want to run to God, pour out my heart - the good, the bad and the ugly - that comes with infertility issues and the long adoption process that John and I are facing.
I think at times God purposefully brings pain and hard times into our lives so that we cling to Him. Our faith is stretched and made solid. God uses these times to test our hearts. Will we seek Him or other worldly things in our time of pain?
As Hannah grieved for a child (I have done my share of grieving!) God saw her and understood her pain. Yes, she trusted God, but it was still painful knowing that she was barren.
God "gets" our hurts and pain. The good news is, it's okay to grieve and approach God's throne of grace with pure honesty and raw emotion, as long as we keep trusting Him.
Kelly Minter says:
"The one thing we can always hold onto is that though He brings pain, it is always for our good....God has brought pain in my life but as I have surrendered to it, He has used the flames of hurt to burn away the parts that need not linger."
If it had been easy for Hannah to get pregnant, she wouldn't have had to depend on God and she would have missed out on knowing Him in such an intimate way. I personally know the emotions involved when your heart desires a child, when you don't completely understand God's plan. Those emotions have driven me to my knees before the Lord - I may not have a child, but I have something better - a stronger relationship with God!
I'm walking the same road as Hannah. May I relish in this time as God works in my life, strengthening my faith as I learn to trust Him like never before.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith, develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."