I Don’t Like God’s Timing. I Like My Timing.
The other day in church we talked a little bit about Hannah. If you don’t know who Hannah is check out 1 Samuel 1. (I went to all the effort of pasting it here so read it!)
“There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. 2 He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
3 Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. 4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. 6 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 8 And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
9 After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.” (ESV)
So incase you didn’t read it the gist of it is that Hannah wanted a baby. Badly. Her rock star husband is sitting here saying: “why do you need a kid if you have me?” and his other wife (yeah, pretty much not husband of the year) makes fun of her. So now we see a Hannah who is left pleading with her God asking for a son. We see her desperation in a few ways here:
First. She tells God that if he gives her this child she will commit him to the Nazarite vow (See Sampson in Judges, or a description in Numbers 6:1-8). Think monk, a life lived in complete devotion to God (not that we all shouldn’t be doing this anyways – but that’s a different blog post).
Second. Eli, the high priest, sees her praying and his conclusion is that she is drunk. Have you ever wanted something so bad that you acted so crazy that people thought you were drunk? You can answer that if you want, I’m going to plead the fifth. But you get the idea. Hannah was pleading with God, begging him for the one desire of her heart.
So after Eli figures out that she isn’t drunk, and figures out why she is so upset he tells her that God is going to give her what she has asked for. She is pretty excited so she worships God and goes home. Happy ending right? Kind of. Look at verse 20. The first 4 words are what I’m here to write about. “And in due time.” Does that sting? It does for me.
I don’t know how long “due time” is in this situation. It could have been a week, or it could have been 2 years. It could have been more. I have no idea. Here’s the point though, it happened in God’s time. Isn’t that something that we tend to resist. I know I do. I don’t like God’s timing. I like my timing. If you have known me for more than about 45 minutes you would know that one of my deepest desires is to have a wife and kids. I want a family. I’m not sure that I could tell you why, but it is, and has been for quite some time one of the deepest (if not the deepest – often in lieu of God) desires of my heart. I have a couple of ex’s who will tell you about how I acted drunk trying to hold a broken relationship together. Many times I have prayed a prayer like Hannah begging God for this family. So now for the humbling part, waiting for this “due time.”
The point is that I know you have something that you want. You don’t know if you can go on without it. The good news is that we worship a God who has control of every last molecule in the universe, and I know that his plan is so much greater than my own (again – another blog post for another time). I’m thankful for the other times he has told me “in due time,” and I’m sure I’ll be thankful this time too. I have dated some really great girls, but for various reasons I’m so glad that I didn’t get to marry any of them. I know that God has one out there for me, and I can’t wait to meet her (or maybe I know her and just haven’t figured out that she is the one yet).
This is getting sappy so I’m going to wrap it up. Just remember. God is good. He has a better plan for you than you could even imagine. I’m slowly coming to grips with this, and I hope you can too.