In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, ‘Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head’
(1 Samuel 1:10-11, NIV)
Friend to Friend
Have you ever sat in a hospital waiting room while a loved one had surgery, delivered a baby, or underwent a biopsy? There are many ways we try to keep ourselves busy while we’re waiting. We sit. We stand. We pace. We drink old coffee and flip through even older magazines.
Hospital waiting rooms are a symbol of how we can feel during seasons of unanswered prayer. Unfortunately, when God seems to delay answering our prayers, we wonder if God loves us or if perhaps He’s forgotten about us. It’s even harder when it seems like God is answering everyone else’s prayers!
In our waiting room seasons, it often feels like we just can’t bear another day. However, our waiting room time doesn’t have to be wasted time. In my waiting room season of desperately praying for God to rescue a family member struggling with an addiction, I learned that in the space between what I’m waiting for and the actual outcome, God was working just as much in my heart as He was in our situation.
In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah wrestled in a symbolic waiting room as she struggled with infertility. Not only did Hannah endure painfully empty arms, but she also lived with relatives who didn’t understand her pain or were just plain old mean (1 Samuel 1:6-8).
In an event where Hannah hits an emotional rock bottom, she demonstrates some powerful principles on how to face the pain in our waiting room and actually experience God’s blessing in that hard place.
In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
Hannah brings her real feelings to God, even the messy and angry emotions. She remembers God’s power and asks Him to make the impossible happen in her life. Finally, Hannah’s final and radical act of worship: she gives back to God before she ever receives.
Hannah shows us that the path to finding blessing in God’s delay is to shift from the often-impatient mindset of “I’m waiting for God to…” toward a gratitude-based posture of “I’m worshipping God for…” As you worship God by remembering who He is, His faithfulness, and His promises, you position yourself be blessed by His presence today in your life. Worship will lift the heavy weight of waiting from your life!
After Hannah prayed, her circumstances remained the same, but she was different: “…when she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast (verse 18).” After her worship encounter with God, Hannah’s heart and mind were uplifted even as her waiting room journey continued. She experienced God’s blessing!
Like Hannah, we can choose to worship rather than feel like we’re impatiently waiting. If you are in a situation today where you’ve been praying and pacing but nothing seems to change, don’t lose hope! Worship God and remember He is at work in you as much as He is working in your circumstances!
God Almighty, there is nothing too hard for You! Even as You are powerful enough to do the impossible, I will wait for You in faith and not to try to force solutions. Like Hannah, I give You thanks for who You are and all the blessings You’ve given me. Instead of waiting and worrying, I will worship You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Giving thanks to God is an important element of worshipping God. What can you give thanks to God for in your life today? Consider beginning a gratitude journal to help you remember God’s faithfulness while you’re waiting for Him to answer your prayers.
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Barb Roose is a speaker and author who is passionate about equipping women to win at life with Christ-empowered strength and dignity. Since 2005, Barb has been speaking to audiences in the US and abroad. She’s a Bible teacher who loves following God more than anything else in life. Barb is a real woman who has experienced depression and anxiety, parenting challenges, and family addiction trauma. Rather than teaching audiences to follow God to get what they want; Barb inspires audiences to discover that God is all they need!
She is the author of multiple books and Bible studies, including her current release, I’m Waiting, God: Finding Blessing in God’s Delay.