Forgive me. For the past two weeks, I've been wrestling with words. 1,400 words, to be exact. It was so frustrating.

But there was once when words were not the biggest things I had to wrestle with. In my previous post I wrote about Hannah being honestly broken and shared a bit about my own brokenness. Well this week I shall continue where I left off.

Let's transport back in time to when Hannah was alive and at Shiloh. This is after her husband made his concern known.

Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the LORD's temple. In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon 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."As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth.

Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine." "Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief." Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him." She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. (1 Samuel 1:9-18)

Look out the window
What knocks me out is Hannah's attitude. So many years of pain, so much tears shed, but when she prayed all changed. She refused to eat before. Now she ate something. Before she was down in the depths of depression. Now her face was "no longer downcast". What made the difference?

It wasn't really because she had finally 'gotten it out of her system', although that contributed in part. It was her trust in God. She still didn't know if He would give her a child, and a son at that. And it would be some nine months later before she could hold Samuel in her arms with certain joy. She didn't know all that yet.

All she knew was that God heard her and that was enough. In spite of her words, "If you would remember me," she never doubted His listening power. And she didn't walk around all antsy expecting an answer immediately. She was contented to wait. If there's anything her years of pain had taught her, it was patience.

As a general rule, humans cannot wait. We find it so hard to do nothing, have nothing. Our impatience is fed even more by this age of instant noodles. So when God tells us to wait, we become like children on a long journey. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? What a feat it will be to sit still and know that we will be there in due time, but meanwhile, why not look out the window and appreciate the view? Hannah did that.

Again I see how much of Hannah I am not. I had to wait, but I needed to learn to enjoy the view too.

Birthday wishes
You know of the tradition of birthday wishes. Last year, I had an unusual kind of wish. At that time, I didn't feel worthy to turn twenty. How can I claim to be an adult when I sure don't feel or act like one? So months before my birthday I told God,

"I am so not looking forward to my twentieth birthday. But it's inevitable. I want it to be different. I want it to be significant. So please, Lord, if you will... please make it special."

As my birthday approached, I dreaded it more and more. Yet I kept praying and wondered what God had up His sleeves. But sometimes I thought, "What if God does nothing? What am I to do then?" Sometimes became most of the time.

I needn't have worried. The day before my birthday was a Sunday. I was at a church along with 700+ others, but I didn't mind, glad to be lost in a sea of people. Then the pastor came onstage and said, "Today I'm going to start on a new series." As it happened, it was exactly what I needed to hear. I became excited, knowing this was planned by Him. At the end of the sermon, the pastor invited those in need of prayer to come forward. Immediately I did. There were many of us, so the pastor ministered from one to another briefly. Then he came to me. And stopped.

Suddenly he took the mike and started prophesying, "I don't know you. I've never met you before. But I feel God wants to tell you that He loves you." He went on, and every word he spoke meant something to me, closed every wound, took away every pain. As I stood there and listened, I could feel my heart being made whole... literally. I don't know how to explain it, but I knew God was taking the pieces and putting them back together. And the great part was that I couldn't see any cracks in it. The broken lines were no longer there. My heart was made whole again.

In my journal I wrote this:

The Spirit's presence was so, so strong. And you know, I felt so much stronger after that. For the first time after a long, long time, I could hope. Not the help-me-I'm-drowning hope. The I-
can-do-all-things-through-Christ-who-strengthens-me hope.

How is it that God is so great, and yet He can be so intimate and personal with me, one out of billions of people?

Glued back together and better
I don't know what you would think of this. As I said before, I've not shared this with just anybody and wouldn't like to. But then I realized I couldn't say that I was broken and leave it at that. Where would the victory be?

This is truth: God makes whole whatever is broken. You can be sure of that. I guess deep down we all believe, or want to believe this.

But the challenge is when God doesn't answer immediately.

Will we shoot off a prayer to God, and then give up because He didn't answer after 'Amen' or not the way we wanted it to be? Or will we be like Hannah, leaving our anguish at the altar and walk away with hope, no matter what the answer may be?

Will we lift our hands up in frustration or in grateful expectancy?

As you wait on God, don't give up. When He does answer, it'll be better than you could ever imagine. Sit and eat, and let not your face be downcast, for He is faithful. And with that I close with a last excerpt from my journal.

I was desperate for an answer by my 20th birthday, and I got it. Jesus gave me the best birthday gift I can ever have. And it's mine to have forever.