As the story in 1 Samuel chapter 1 begins, a woman named Hannah is barren. She has a husband, Elkanah, who loves her very much, but she cannot give him children. Perhaps that is why he has a second wife. Her name is Peninnah, and she and Elkanah do have children. But as is typical in Old Testament stories in which the man has more than one wife, there is jealousy and rivalry between the wives. Because Peninnah knows that Elkanah loves Hannah more than her, she takes great delight in verbally abusing Hannah concerning Hannah’s barrenness. 1 Samuel 1:6 says of Hannah:
And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. (N.K.J.V.)
Peninnah’s cruel taunts are even thrown around during the family’s annual trips to Shiloh to worship and offer sacrifices at the Tabernacle, Israel’s central place of worship in those days. 1 Samuel 1:7 says:
So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat. (N.K.J.V.)_
Please notice those three words: year by year. How many years did Hannah endure the vicious taunting of Penninah? We can’t say for sure. All we know is that God didn’t come riding in with the calvary and fix the problem overnight. He let things go on for years!
This brings me to the core message of this post. How long have you been waiting for God to do that certain something? How long have you been waiting for Him to grant that specific request? How long have you been waiting for Him to deal with that one problem? If you can truthfully answer, “For years,” you are in the good company of Hannah.
The difference between you and her is that you know how her story turned out. God did eventually open her womb and grant her Samuel, who would grow up to become one of Israel’s greatest leaders. But as for the end of your story, well, right not that’s still in doubt (at least in your way of looking at things). Understand this, though: All those years of what you might classify as silence or inactivity on God’s part are no indication, in and of themselves, that He isn’t still going to do what you’ve asked Him to do. Remember the words of Psalm 27:14:
Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! (N.K.J.V.)