When Nothing Seems To Change

Have you ever received a promise from God and felt excited, “This is it! Things are finally gonna be different this time!” Then looked at your life and realized, nothing has changed. Your circumstances are exactly the same. How many times have we taken our eyes off of the promise and placed them on our surroundings.

Often we are like Peter in Matthew 14 who took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the waves. Up until that moment this man was literally walking on water. That had to be a good feeling, but the moment he took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the storm and the waves, he began to sink. Thankfully Jesus was there, just like He is in our lives, to catch him before catastrophe hit!

Do you remember Hannah in 1 Samuel ? She was miserable! She couldn’t have children and her… What do you call your husbands other wife? Her name was Peninnah and she ridiculed Hannah and made her feel terrible. Every year they would journey to offer sacrifices and every year Hannah would grow more despondent, she couldn’t even eat she was so broken.

Her circumstances had left her humiliated, feeling worthless. So she went to the Tabernacle to pray. She was broken and crying before the Lord when he priest Eli approached her and said what any good priest would say, “Stop drinking woman! You would come here totally wasted?! What’s wrong with you?!” Those may not have been his exact words, but the sentiment is the same.

Hannah explained her situation.

1 Samuel 1:15-18 (NLT) “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. 16 Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.”

 “In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”

 “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.

The priest told her God would grant her request and she believed him. This is faith in action. She wasn’t supernaturally impregnated in that moment. Her circumstances didn’t change just because Eli, a priest with notoriously wicked sons, told her it would all be ok. I am sure Peninnah didn’t suddenly decide to close her mouth. Yet Hannah had faith.

We know she had faith, because she got her appetite back and was no longer sad. We know the story, she eventually gave birth to Samuel and the amazing part of the story is she kept the vow she had made to the Lord to give the child back to Him.

Now as a man, I am not a mother, nor do I have children, but I can imagine the difficulty a mother would have of giving up her son to live in the temple and serve the Lord. This was her only son, and yet she was faithful to her vow. She obeyed the Lord. When Samuel was old enough she brought him to the temple and he lived there and served the Lord.

This woman had faith in God. And I believe it was because of her obedience that God blessed her far beyond what she had asked.

1 Samuel 2:21 And the Lord blessed Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters.

This wasn’t part of the deal. God didn’t bring out a contract for Hannah to sign that stipulated, if she obeyed He would bless her abundantly with five additional children. I believe those children were God’s way of honoring her faith and obedience. She gave up her son even though she had no guarantee of other children.

Is there something in your life today that God is asking you to give up? If there is, I would encourage you to stop putting it off, and obey the Lord this very day. Trust Him enough to know that His way is better than your own way. It may be difficult, but when we fully surrender to the Lord and obey God to the fullest, He is faithful to bless us far beyond what we even asked.

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