Some Blessings Come Late
Ruth 4:7 - Samuel 4:18
When Hannah approached the Lord the scriptures tell us it was out of an abundance of grief. Her overwhelming sadness is described as a bitterness of soul. She wept sore, prayed, and did not eat as she prepared to petition the Lord. Finally, after all her preparation and after many years of waiting, Hannah pled to the Lord for the blessing of a child, promising that she would give that child to the Lord all the days of his life.
Have you ever had a Hannah moment?
An abundance of grief. A bitterness of soul. Can you think of a time when you have wept sore? Have you ever poured out your soul to the Lord?
In her abundance of grief, Hannah pled with the Lord and He answered through His prophet, “Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.” (Samuel 1:17)
I love to think of Hannah walking out of the temple that day. The scriptures tell us that she “went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.” (1 Samuel 1:18) This is not a description of what doubt looks like. It’s what faith looks like, even after years of praying and hoping and petitioning for the same blessing over and over again.
This time after Hannah petitioned the Lord the scriptures tell us, “and the Lord remembered her.” (1 Samuel 1:19) Every time I read this sentence my testimony of God’s love is increased. I know that because He remembered Hannah in her abundance of grief, He will remember me. I know not when the blessing will come, but I know I will not be forgotten of the Lord. Elder Holland promised, “Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.”
Hannah bare a son, “and called his name Samuel, saying, because I have asked him of the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:20)
When Samuel was very young she took him to Eli, the prophet, and lent him to the Lord as she had promised. “And she said, O my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him…” (Samuel 1:27 emphasis added)
For this child I prayed…
I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to entrust the tiny child that she had longed for into the hands of someone else to be raised. To give up the blessing she had yearned for after such a short time. But the story does not speak of sadness, instead Hannah bears testimony of the goodness of God saying, “My heart rejoiceth in the Lord. There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2) Through the waiting, the grief, the bitterness, the tears, the petitioning, and even through the blessing, Hannah had come to know the Lord.
Perhaps Samuel, this gift from the Lord, might be labeled as a blessing come late. But have you ever considered that the answer to her prayer that day in the temple might not have been the greatest blessing Hannah received? Maybe, after all, Hannah's greatest blessing was what came as a result of the waiting, the petitioning, the grief ––through the process the Savior had become her rock. Could that have been the greater blessing?
In the years that followed, even though Samuel was not with her, Hannah remembered her precious gift from the Lord. She spent countless hours during sewing for her son. Once every year she visited the beloved child that she had pled for and brought him what must have surely been a token of her love ––a handmade little coat.
Samuel tells us, “Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year.” (1 Samuel 1:19) Right away we know how important each of those little coats must have been to Samuel. If they hadn’t been, he wouldn’t have remembered to write them into the history of his life. I am confident that Samuel wore each of those coats and thought of his mother whose prayers resulted in the miracle of his life. He must have known that in wearing those coats, he was wrapped up in her love ––perhaps the coats became something to remember her by.
What are you praying for right now? When you pour out your soul to the Lord, what is it you petition for? Is there something you could learn from Hannah’s experience that might help your situation?
Two things to consider…
You might want to read the section on prayer in the Bible Dictionary…
And, in the moments you find yourself begging the Lord for the blessings you stand in need of, you could remember this promise found in Hannah’s story:
“He raiseth up the poor…and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill,
to set them among princes,
and to make them inherit the throne of glory.”
The Lord knows how to raise our spirits, and lift our hearts.
His promises are sure.
His blessing will come.