“I am tired of waiting, I am tired of being asked the same question over and over, I am tired of seeing other peoples prayers being answered whilst mine aren’t…” Is this your memory song at the moment? Well if it is, guess what, you are not alone and you are not the first one to have heard this song in your memory.
On the contrary, over 2000 years ago, in the land of Ramah, there lived a barren woman who shared a husband with another woman. In those days, a barren woman was considered a failure and her barrenness was a social embarrassment for her husband. Children were a very important part in the society’s economic structure since they were a source of labor and it was their duty to take care of their parents in their old age. Hence, if a wife could not bear children, she was obligated to pursue her servant to bear children for her or the husband was permitted to divorce her. However, in this story, this barren woman’s husband remained lovingly devoted to her despite his rights under civil law and the social criticism.
Part of God’s plan involved postponing this barren woman’s childbearing years since He had great plans for her life; the plans would only work after patience had been practiced. Whilst everyone around her (including her husband and her husband’s second wife) was looking at her outward circumstances, God was moving ahead with his plan.
Maybe this may also be happening to someone that you know, If so, why not try to pray and support them so that they may remain steadfast in their faith and confident in God’s timing to bring fulfillment in their lives.
Although she was aware of the love that her husband had for her, his encouragement could not comfort her since she could not keep from listening to her husband’s second wife’s jeers and letting her words erode her self-confidence. Although she could not keep her husband’s second wife from unjustly criticizing her she later chose not to dwell on her problems and chose to place her problems on God which was a good reaction. By so doing, she managed to exchange self-pity to hope. This woman had a good reason to feel discouraged and bitter since; she was barren, her loving husband could not solve her problem, she shared a husband with a woman who ridiculed her. However, instead of retaliating or giving up hope, she brought her problem honestly before God through prayer.
Just like her, each of us may face times of barrenness when nothing comes to birth in our work, relationships, service, lives etc. In those times we may find it difficult to pray in faith but just like this women discovered, prayer opens the way for God to work with our situations.
However, we also ought to be careful with what we promise in prayer because God may take it up on us. In this woman’s desperation, she promised God that she would bring back the child to Him if only her request was granted. Guess what, just after a year, her request was granted just as she had been promised. As the Bible continually shows how God keeps His promises, we may wonder if she really was going to keep her promise as well and lose everything she had always longed for? We may wonder if she was really going to let go of the only child she had to make her feel safe in her husband’s love, the only thing which would become her source of survival in her old age? Well unlike some of us who break promises when we see it fit, this woman actually fulfilled her promise. She gave up what she had always longed for; her only son and presented him to serve in the house of The Lord for all his lifetime. When she did this, she was also dedicating her entire life and future in God’s hands since she did not have a child to labor with or take care of her in her old age. The most interesting part is that, she was really not giving her child up; on the contrary, she was giving back to God what He had given her in the first place.
Are we dedicating all our life joys and sorrows to God or are we looking for short-term gratification when problems or excitement arises? Who are we really depending on? Are we running to our lovers who really cannot solve our problems or give us that peace of mind and forgetting God in the process? Are we keeping our promises to God when He opens doors for us? Are we trustingly giving back to God with all our hearts just like Hannah did? Hannah persevered even though God was silent toward her request for a child for many years, she never stopped praying. She had faith that God had the power to help her. She never doubted God’s abilities. There is a lesson for us to learn in all this – there is power in a praying woman