I had a little cousin who I promised to get a phone for once she finishes her senior WAEC. Now, you need to understand that this promise was made more than 2 years ago as she was about to enter SS1. My little mind thought that by then I would have become a ‘big boy’ financially, such that getting a good android phone will not be a big deal. Now, she is already through with WAEC and writing her NECO, and trust little girls, they never forget. Now, I must confess that I am a little better off financially now than then, but I am shocked to discover that I am not where I thought I will be. But, my case is even better. For Hannah, it was a far worse story.
Probably the first wife of her husband, she was said to be childless, and bore no children for her husband. Now, that would not have pained her most if she was her husband’s only wife. But, matters were made worse when her husband married a second wife, Peninnah, which bore for him, not just a child, but children. So, it was very clear that the problem was not with the husband, but with Hannah. Now, if you have ever been in such a shoe, you will know that there are special days when your lack or inability becomes more glaring on you. For Hannah, such days were when she goes to the temple for the annual feast. The fact that a large portion of meat went to her co-wife, and the fact that her co-wife teased and mocked her made her situation more glaring to her, and drastically increased her pain.
While thinking on the passage as I wrote, the word quoted in vs. 7 of 1 Samuel 1 really struck me. It says, “Every year it was the same……” (TLB). What do you do when your story seems to never have any changes? What do you do when things stay the same YEAR BY YEAR? Nothing sickens the heart like a shattered dream and an unfulfilled hope. We all enter into different stages of life with high expectations. While entering into university, you have high hopes of coming out with first class. It never crosses your mind that you may have to get some F’s in some courses, and may end up doing extra-year. While graduating from school, you have high hopes of how you are going to make it in life before 3 years’ time.
The same goes for marriage, business, etc. Everything always seems perfect at the beginning. It looks like there will be no problems, and sometimes it appears as if life is heading that way.
You see, I work among young people, and I am always delighted to see them speak of their high dreams and how they are going to achieve this or that. Sometimes, however, I wonder if they actually realize that between our dreams and its actual manifestation, their may be some deep gulfs to pass. I have had friends celebrate birthdays, and all that happens to them was that it just dawned on them that they are getting old, and yet nothing tangible (so it seems) has been achieved. What word can we bring to such people?
When it seems as if year by year, life remains the same for you, no changes. What is the word of God to you?
Let us come back to Hannah. What did she do? I will say it in two words- SHE CONTINUED. Year by year she continued to present herself before the Lord. Year by year she continued to submit to the authority of her husband. Year by year she continued praying and trusting God. Year by year she continued to stay through to God and to His laws. She did not let the reality of her personal challenge stop her. She may not have understood why her wombs were shut up by God, but she kept serving that God.
Vs. 20 says, “in the process of time….” Life has its process. The Almighty has a process He must pass His people through. No man jumped that process, not even our Lord Jesus. The method will differ, and so also will the time frame differ from person to person, but all must pass through a process. When that process is complete, then, like a miracle, the visions of God are birthed in such a one’s lie. God is not slow; neither is He in a hurry. He is not constrained by time. This has been the controversy of the sons of men with Him from time immemorial. They always want it NOW, but Yahweh is not in a hurry. The hymn writer described him thus, “unresting, unhasting, and silent as light”. He is not sleeping; neither is He in a hurry. But how many will wait till time is fully processed? How many will continue till the end? How many will hold on to godly principles and to God even when they do not understand?
For Hannah, all things came to a head one evening, as she went as usual to worship. There was an unusual stirring in her spirit. This was not the first time she was being taunted by her co-wife, neither was it the first time she ever cried and prayed to God. But, that day, it was not Hannah that prayed. The Spirit of God prayed. The One who knows the perfect will of God, and who is aware of the timing of God prayed, and made vows to God according to God’s heart. That day, the heavens were opened unto Hannah, and her prayers were answered. But the secret to her answered prayers was not that she made a vow, or that she cried, but that the spirit of God prayed that day. Heaven said it was time, and the motions were set up in her spirit for a change of status.
So, beloved one, CONTINUE. If you have stopped your spiritual disciplines, or dropped consecrations out of frustrations, go back. Repent, pick them up again, and CONTINUE. One day, your Lord will visit. My prayer is that when He visits, He will find you where you ought to be. I leave you with this verse of the Bible:
“Rejoicing in Hope. Patient in Tribulation. Continuing instant in Prayers.”- Rom. 12 vs.12