When God’s Word stings
Admit it, there are parts of the Bible that are difficult to digest. Certain words sting and can cause us to question our faith. I came across some of them as I was writing my book, When God Sees Your Tears.
In the Old Testament story of Hannah, I found staring at me, like a dagger, seven words about why Hannah could not conceive a child: because the Lord had closed her womb. Those seven words explain, but don’t really explain, Hannah’s misery. And within those seven disturbing words are four words that explain — or don’t really explain — the troubles we experience today, too: because the Lord had….
I know those words too well, by now. Maybe you do, too:
…because the Lord had changed his heart.
…because the Lord had withheld another child.
…because the Lord had closed that door.
…because the Lord had taken her away.
…because the Lord had clearly said “no.”
Maybe you’ve experienced those four — or seven — disturbing words in your life, too.
…because the Lord had not healed her?
…because the Lord had let him die?
...because the Lord had chosen someone else?
…because the Lord had closed your womb?
As disturbing as those words are — that imply God is in control over the things that we long for or hurt over the most — I have come to trust in the three words that often come in the middle of our story of struggle. In the middle of Hannah’s story, after she cried out to God in anguish and offered to give back to God what she wanted most, we read the wonderfully glorious sentence that begins with the words “in due time.” First Samuel 1:20 tells us “in due time she gave birth to a son.”
Part of that “course of time” (as the New International Version words it), involved Hannah’s preparation to be able to handle what it was she asked for, her trust in God’s timing and ability to come through for her, and a growing intimacy with Him. God also had a lot He was accomplishing in the world around Hannah before He allowed her to have a son who would grow up to be Samuel — the prophet and priest who would anoint Israel’s first two kings.
In other words, Hannah had a longing. But God was working on her legacy. Hannah was watching the clock. But God was watching a country. Hannah just wanted a baby. But God wanted a prophet and priest that would help change the heart of a nation.
Sometimes what we want is small in the scope of God’s plans. But when we take our little longings and set them before Him and say “Your will, not mine” I believe that is the key to seeing our desires turn into something far more valuable than just making us happy. When our desires become HIS desires, and His desires become ours, there is nothing that will keep Him from blessing our lives.
What is God withholding from you so that you will be desperate enough to offer it back to Him? He just may want to turn YOUR longing into a legacy, your desire into someone else’s destiny, your surrender into someone else’s salvation.
Trust Him with the story of your life and what He is waiting to accomplish “in due time.”