It was during a preschool conference that my daughter blurted out to her teacher that she was going to have a baby sister. My cheeks flushed as her teacher glanced in my direction, her eyes searching mine, asking the question without saying the words.
Caught off guard by my daughter’s sudden declaration, I felt the need to bring truth to the situation. No, I was not expecting a baby, and I had no plans in that regard. We both smiled awkwardly, moving on to the letters my daughter had memorized by sight and sound.
It began months prior as a prayer. My five-year-old would whisper it during prayer time, a solid reality in her mind. It was one she was convinced was going to come to pass.
She had all the child-like faith that was needed, and began to pick out names for this baby sister. There was more, too. Games my daughter intended to play once the baby arrived were also planned.
The declarations of this reality didn’t stop at just telling her teacher. She would tell extended family members and cashiers in the checkout line. She also told an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while when we bumped into her at the store.
Even though I have no plans for providing her with a baby sister, I have never asked her to stop praying for this. As my daughter longs for an addition to family so strongly, I do believe God will grant her desire in whatever way He sees fit, and in His timing.
How this will happen is yet unknown. Perhaps it be through a child born from my body, or an adopted baby sister. Maybe through a sister-in-law to whom my daughter is really close, or a friend that feels like a sister. God's ways are higher than my ways (Isaiah 55:8), and He has ways of answering prayers which I could never have dreamed.
We are currently in the season of Advent, and Christmas is one week away. In this week leading up to the birth of Christ, it is a time for looking forward to His eventual second coming. The origin of the word “advent” is from the Latin word “adventus” which means “coming” or “arrival.”
During this time of year, I feel the invitation to examine the places in my life where I have stopped looking for the “coming” of answers to prayers; stopped looking for the “coming” of God to move in those difficult situations in my life.
Proverbs 13:12 says that, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”
Sometimes the waiting feels like being heart sick. Feels like a grief of sorts. Feels like a longing for answers to come. Maybe it’s being heart sick for reconciliation of a fractured relationship. Or heart sick for that wayward loved one who has turned from the Lord. Perhaps it's being heart sick for the tide to turn in a circumstance that feels beyond my control, or for justice or healing.
In 1 Samuel, chapter 1, Hannah understood this heartsickness all too well as she too, longed for a baby. On top of the pain of her inability to conceive, she was taunted by her rival for being barren.
“Whenever she went up to the Lord’s house, her rival taunted her in this way every year.
Hannah wept and would not eat. “Hannah, why are you crying? Her husband Elkanah
asked. “Why won’t you eat? Why are you troubled? Am I not better to you than 10 sons?”
Hannah got up after they ate and drank at Shilor. Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the
doorpost of the Lord’s tabernacle. Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with
many tears. Making a vow, she pleaded, “Lord of Hosts, if you will take notice of Your
servant’s affliction, remember and not forget me, and give Your servant a son, I will give him
to the Lord all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut.”
-1 Samuel 1:7-11
Scripture negates to tell how long Hannah had to endure the taunting and being unable to conceive. But based on the level of her distress, and her desperate prayer to the Lord, I would imagine it was quite some time. Hannah took her hurt to the Lord and asked Him to remember her; to not forget His promises. And indeed, the Lord was faithful toward Hannah. He heard her request and gave her the desires of her heart through a son that she named Samuel, which means, “God has heard.”
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
Sometimes I have to fight the temptation to believe that God is holding out on me or that maybe I haven’t prayed enough for my prayer to be answered. I grow heart sick in the waiting and often give up seeing the coming of answers to my prayers.
In 2 Peter 3:9, it says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
While this particular verse may be referring to salvation, it’s an important reminder that what seems like delays in God’s timing are often intended to have eternal purposes in mind. Many times, God is working in the hearts of others while working in our situation, as well. There are often connections in ways that we are unaware of, based on our limited understanding.
Ultimately, I find comfort knowing that when I am feeling heart sick for answers, God is always working in my life in His ways and timing.
Father, thank you for the reminder during this season of advent that you are faithful to keep your promises. Take my heart to deeper levels of trust and knowing you in my seasons of waiting, and help me to believe that your answers and timing are always better than my own. Amen.
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