When you want something with every bone in your body, waiting can be so difficult. As a matter of fact, it's one of the biggest topics of conversation with the clients I work with. They come into my room seeking immediate relief from their current circumstances. They are in pain, they are struggling and sometimes barely surviving and all they want is to escape - for things to change. And yet, that is something that psychology (or medication as a matter of fact) cannot resolve immediately. A painkiller may numb the pain temporarily, but resolving a problem takes time. It takes patience. And unfortunately having patience is hard. That’s why it is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22 - 23 ESV) - it is something we need to grow and develop, and it is not something that is natural for most of us.
When I think of the women in the bible, I imagine patience was something they had to develop in huge supply. Women had rather inflexible roles they were expected to play - daughter, wife, mother - and when they could not achieve these roles, this had a huge impact on their lives.
Think about Sarah, Abraham’s wife. They were promised a child by God - Sarah was promised to be a mother - but this didn’t happen until she was very old (Genesis 21). Because she was unable to conceive at first, Sarah even gave Abraham her maid to conceive a child by (Genesis 16). Ultimately she was rewarded and blessed in her patience - her son Issac became the father of Jacob who had 12 sons that lead to the 12 tribes of the Israelites (Genesis 21; Genesis 25; Deuteronomy 27:12 - 13). How amazing is that legacy? Sarah's patience came with a rich and blessed heritage.
Similarly, Hannah had to have great patience when it came to the birth of Samuel. Although she was the first wife of her husband, she was barren while his second wife continued to bear him children (1 Samuel 1). As his first wife - this was her responsibility, to continue her husband’s line. The bible tells us that she came to God “weeping” for him to give her a son (1 Samuel 1:7). She promised God that she would commit her son to Him and that, in his life, he would serve God. God heard her, remembered her prayers, and gave her Samuel. And as we know, Samuel was a prophet who, in following the instruction from God anointed the first (Saul) and second (David) King‘s of Israel (1 Samuel 9; 1 Samuel 16). Again, she had to have patience (and yes, also faith) that God would answer her prayer. And she was profoundly blessed for it. Now, I want to clarify something vitally important. I am not saying that if you have faith and patience your world will be amazing and wonderful and you will be blessed with children who are Prime Ministers or Presidents or so much money you can swim in it. That’s not how this works. For every woman in the bible who had faith and patience and ultimately had a huge impact on the narrative of the Jews and Christians, I truly believe there are hundreds of women who had the same faith and patience, which was ultimately rewarded, but without that same scale of impact.
So, how do we wait? We wait by knowing that God does not forget us (Psalm 27:10). God says he does all things for His purpose - in His time, not ours (Romans 8:28). The thing is we need to wait, and know that in our waiting He is standing (walking) beside us (Psalm 27).
It’s a bittersweet pill right? Knowing that if you trust and wait, things will change. It’s hard, because the waiting means sitting in discomfort. For my clients, it often means doing hard work, facing truths that they do not want to face or doing things they do not want to do. But ultimately, I know - and they know - in waiting and doing to the work (having the faith), things will change. That their patience will be rewarded with a freedom from pain, a new and better world.
And so, I ask you. What is it that you want with all your heart? What are you struggling with these days that you want changed yesterday? It is understandable and normal that you would experience this, but considering the actions and behaviour of both Sarah and Hannah; what can you do differently? How can you help yourself as you wait and trust in God?
As always, remember you are not alone in your struggle, and that there are people and support who can be there as you walk through it. One of those key supports is your church community. We're all working out this patience thing - so let's do it together!
- Written by Ashleigh Crosilla.