Reading the stories of Sarah, Leah, Hannah, the Woman with the issue of blood, and Martha, there’s one thing they’ve had in common in their lives: waiting.
What I love about their stories is how real they are with how they’re feeling. Frustration, despair, doubt, even blaming God overflowed from their hearts. Can you relate? (I know I can!).As daughters of the Most High, we long to wait well. Yet we feel we need to pretend or cover our negative emotions.Click To Tweet
I believe one thing God desires in a relationship with us is transparency and honesty. So as you’re waiting for an answered prayer during your season of singleness, here are some lessons we can learn, which will uncover the true state of our hearts and if they align with God’s:
Lesson 1: What You Believe Is How You’ll Behave (Sarah)
Are you waiting well?
While you may be quick to answer “yes” (because that’s what Christians are supposed to say, right?), remember this is about being honest. Sarah followed a man who followed an unseen God and didn’t complain about it. Abram had been told he would be the father of a nation and yet she was old, barren and had no idea when the promise would come to pass. All she could see was what was in front of her eyes: her and her husband’s shriveled bodies.
Isn’t that the way with most of us as well? All we can see are the dateless nights and the ever quickening passing of time. When wonder when and lose hope after waiting months, years, decades.
Sarah’s faith journey wasn’t a straight line. There were times when her faith was so low that when it came to God’s promise, she gave Him a helping hand. What is so relatable about Sarah is what she tells Abram, revealing what was in her heart,
So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. (Genesis 16:2)
Her words hit me like an arrow in the heart. What kind of God would make a promise and then keep it away? Her words don’t make God sound loving or giving at all! Instead, He sounds so cruel. Her faith at this point is so low that she gives permission for her husband to be with another woman. Her belief dictated her behavior and the consequences of that are still being felt today.
As you’re waiting, what are you believing about God? It’s a question that all of us waiting women need to ask and see if our behavior is lining up with our beliefs.
Lesson 2: Waiting Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Loved (Leah)
Along with Sarah, Leah is one of my favorite women in the Bible. She was the oldest daughter (like I am), was not considered beautiful (hello self-esteem issues), and fell in love with a man who loved someone else (been there, done that). Through her father’s deception, she marries Jacob and bears his children hoping for some crumbs of his affection. The names of her children reflect where her heart is and one, in particular, stands out: Simeon, meaning heard, for God had heard she was unloved.
If you’re reading this, you may be going through a Simeon season…feeling unloved and trying to find ways you can fill that hole in your heart. For Leah, it was through her children who would naturally love her as their mother. Yet, there was a love she was looking for that was not fulfilled: that between a husband and a wife. Jacob did not look at her the way he did her younger sister Rachel. Leah was the mother of his children but not the song in his heart. That is the desire of every woman who is waiting and longing for a husband. And yet God tells us that we are His heart song in Zephaniah 3:17,
The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
In this verse, rejoicing over us is mentioned twice. He rejoices over us with gladness and with singing. Can you picture His heart just bursting with so much love that He can’t help but make it known?
It can be easy to think that because we’re waiting, God has forgotten about us or loves us but not really. He loves us because He has to love us but when it comes to giving us good things, well, that’s a different story. This time of waiting is a precious season for us to really get it inside our bones that God loves us. Not because of the way we look or don’t look according to society’s unrealistic standards but because we belong to Him.
Lesson 3: Dare To Hope Even When It seems Hopeless (Hannah)
Like Sarah, Hannah longed for a child of her own. Her husband, Elkanah, had another wife named Penninah had many sons and daughters. Sarah was so grieved that God had not blessed her with children and it led to a rivalry much like Rachel and Leah.
Sisters, we know the comparison trap is very real even today in our churches. We see our friends and family members finding love and while we paste a smile on our faces, our hearts are breaking.
By the time we read Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel 1, God is a more known then He was in Sarah’s story. Because of this, Hannah went to the temple and openly wept as she prayed. Eli, the priest, saw Hannah moving her lips, not saying a word and thought she was drunk. I can imagine the ugly tears that must have streamed down her face as she let God know of her anguish. Months of hostility from Penninah and nights of empty arms must have taken its toll upon her heart. Instead of refusing to go to the temple because God had withheld children, she went and bared her heart to Him. Eli may not have understood the words she said, but God certainly did.
Your prayers for a husband and children are not falling on deaf ears. You may be in a situation where there is no potential boyfriend in sight and yet God is able to bring that person when it is in His timing. We can hold on to hope, not because God is a genie, but because He is our hope. He is a God who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could hope or think of (Ephesians 3:20). When we believe and stand on that, we can go on our way, eat, and no longer be sad.
Lesson 4: God Heals Our Wounds (Woman with the Issue of Blood)
Waiting on God can be so hard as the years go by. For the Woman with the issue of blood, twelve years must have seemed like a lifetime of loneliness. She was never welcomed, never touched, always an outsider on the fringe of her society. I can’t imagine how incredibly discouraging that must have been for her. She went to doctors trying to find a cure for her illness but to no avail. Then one day, she heard that Jesus was near and set out to find Him.
And Jesus immediately knowing that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”
But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging around You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?'”
And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” (Mark 5:30-34)
The Woman with the issue of blood had been an outcast, pitied but untouched. Jesus not only healed her physical pain but her emotional one as well. Waiting on God means that our past pains will come up to the surface and only He has the cure. Whether you’ve been abandoned, rejected, scorned, felt unwanted, Jesus is the healing balm. He calls us “Daughter” because we are loved by a Heavenly Father who does not delight in our suffering. If you’ve been waiting twelve weeks or twelve years or even more than that, God is more interested in mending your heart than putting a ring on your finger.
Lesson 5: Waiting Will Challenge Us And Glorify Him (Martha)
When it comes to waiting, one question repeatedly comes to mind, “Does God really care?”
In John 11, we read how Jesus loved a family consisting of two sisters and a brother: Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Lazarus succumbs to a sickness and dies leaving his sisters to their grief. Jesus, having gotten word of His friend’s illness, waits three days. When He finally arrives in Bethany, where the family lives, Martha meets Him with these words,
“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21)
Don’t we say the same thing to Him even now? “Lord, if You truly cared, you could use some of that power You have and make him appear with the snap of Your fingers.” Martha would go on to say that she knows Jesus can resurrect Him but just not at that moment. She believes there is no hope for her brother at that time only in the resurrection to come.
What Jesus says in response to her is a challenge to us all,
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
If we’re honest, we can believe the dream of our heart’s desire is dead. We can put that desire on the altar to be sacrificed believing God will resurrect it. We don’t understand why God makes us wait…only that He does. But here in this story, we see that what He does, He does for His glory. Whether we remain single or one day get married, it will all be for His glory. Whether we have children or adopt or remain childless, it will all be for His glory.
God’s Word contains lessons we can learn about waiting but more importantly, they have life. When our feelings get the better of us or our thoughts want to take us captive, we can find hope reflected within these pages. The pain and frustration of waiting are not new but neither is the comfort and love God lavishes on us.The pain and frustration of waiting is not new but neither is the comfort and love God lavishes on us. Click To Tweet
I’d love to know – What lessons have you learned during your season of waiting?