i will worship.

Barrenness. Disappointment. Waiting. Believing. And then waiting some more. 

Hannah {1 Samuel} knew a thing or two about barrenness and disappointment. Her only dream in life was to have a child. The desire of her heart was simple, yet meant the whole wide world to her. 

So why couldn't she have it? Why were the other women around her rejoicing and dancing as their dreams came true, and she was still waiting for the fulfillment of her dream?

Hannah's husband, Elkanah, knew how heartbroken she was and he asked, "Aren't I better to you than ten sons?" 

The irony of it all was that Elkanah's other wife was blessed with sons and daughters. The one thing that Hannah wanted more than anything, children, were abundant and overflowing over in Peninnah's tent. 
It was beyond unfair. 

Why did Peninnah have such favor? Why was she so blessed? And why was it that Hannah was forgotten? 

1 Samuel 1:5 says, "But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb."

What? The Lord closed her womb? The Lord was the One who restricted and held back those blessings, while Peninnah was dancing around in abundant joy?

I think we can all relate with Hannah's story. We've all walked through those moments in life, where the one thing that we want more than anything, our heart's cry and our greatest dream, is shut off and closed up to us. We cannot access it, and as if that didn't hurt badly enough, one of our sisters end up with the SAME blessing that we were asking for! 

Yes, we have all felt the sting of watching a friend get married before we do. Watching someone else land our dream job. Standing on the sidelines while someone else gets promoted, noticed, and adored. 
Why is it that the Lord seems to be handing out everything that we're praying for...to other people?!
Why are their most wild and wonderful dreams coming true, while we are left on the barren shores of disappointment?  

"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places." {Psalm 16:6} 

The Lord closed Hannah's womb. The Lord decided that your friend should be married before you. The Lord removed that relationship that you were so dependent upon. The Lord said, "No" to an opportunity that you were so crazy excited about. The Lord is the one who placed those boundary lines for that season. 

What? No! Sometimes we can grow so incredibly frustrated with the boundary lines of the Lord. The lot of land that we've been given in life, can sometimes feel small, restrictive, and hidden.

Sometimes we can ask questions like, 

"Why are only three girls coming to the weekly Bible Study I'm hosting? Why do I only have 35 views on YouTube? Why didn't my youth pastor ask me to share at our youth rally, and asked my best friend to lead worship instead? Why am I still waiting for my dreams to break lose, and send me soaring? Why do I still feel so barren?"

The Apostle Paul said that he learned the secret to being content in every situation {Philippians 4:12}, and admonished us to do the same. But how? It's so frustrating to be barren and heartbroken, especially when the enemy comes along and reminds us about everything that we are missing out on. "Look at all the fun you could be having if you were dating around! Look at the friendships you have lost, and the opportunities that God handed off to someone else. He doesn't' really care about you. He is holding back good, wonderful blessings from your life, He doesn't want you to have them. Your dreams are never going to happen. Just look at all your friends and the people around you. The Lord is blessing and promoting them, but He has clearly forgotten about you!" 

But that is when the Lord whispers to our souls, "Aren't I better to you than ten sons? Aren't I more important to you then ten blessings? Don't you want me more, than ten dreams coming true? The boundary lines that I have placed in this season are for YOUR GOOD. If I opened up the Promise Land to you all at once, the beasts would overtake you. {Exodus 23:30-31}. I will drive out the enemy from before you, little by little, one step at a time, and expand your territory! I will stretch out your borders, and give you the land of your dreams, but you MUST remember that an inheritance gained quickly in the beginning is not blessed in the end. {Proverbs 20:21} This is a most beautiful and glorious process! I have promised to make everything beautiful in ITS TIME. {Ecclesiastes 3:11.} The boundary lines have fallen for you in PLEASANT places, because you are with Me! Wouldn't you rather be in my presence in a challenging place, than be in the middle of the Promise Land without me?
I want YOU more than I want anything else. {John 17:24} What do you want? Me, My presence and My love? Or do you just want my gifts, promises and blessings?
All of these blessings will come in time, but I am a jealous God! I want you to seek Me first. Before I bring your husband, before I launch your career, before I make your dreams come true...I want you to fall in love with me! Seek Me first and all these other things shall be added unto you." 

King David understood this barren season of life as well. After the exciting proclamation that he would be King, young David was all pumped up, and ready for his wildest dreams to come true! He was given the promise, but first he had to go through the process. And so, he returned to the stinky sheep fold, where he had been his entire life. Even though he was a King, his boundary lines for that season had fallen in a pasture. It was an opportunity for David to be faithful with what was entrusted to him. David wrote Psalm 37, expressing how he was simply dwelling in the land, being content, and doing good, blooming where he was planted! He was going to trust God, sing, dance, worship and enjoy safe pasture! Even when it looked like nothing was happening. Even when disappointment was trying to discourage him. David set his heart upon one thing - knowing and worshiping the King of Kings! 

When David worshiped in spite of his circumstances, he was not being passive and apathetic. He did not adopt a negative attitude thinking, "Well, if God hasn't moved yet, I guess I'm gonna be stuck here for a long time. I'd better hunker down and get used to these sheep, because I don't know when God is going to move; and I don't want to push anything, so I'm just going to go with whatever happens."

No way! It was just the opposite! When David worshiped in the midst of that barren season, that was his warfare! He was believing for change, petitioning for change, and FULLY believing that the Lord would come through for him! The fullness of that promise would be seen in his life, because He who spoke it was faithful!

Hannah petitioned Heaven for her breakthrough. She went up to the temple and poured out her soul to the Lord. "In bitterness of soul, Hannah wept and prayed to the Lord." 

Sisters, we must lift up our voices of intercession. Just because there are boundary lines on our life right now, does not mean that God wants us to stay here! The Lord is all about expansion, and launching out to take new land! But before we expand the gardens He has given us, we must learn to be faithful with the garden we already have!

The barrenness that Hannah experienced was not a punishment from God. It was not God's will that she be barren and miserable forever. It wasn't like he had predestined her misery, and then one day she prayed so hard that it changed God's mind. 

The Lord had fully planned to bless her with a child all along! He wanted her dreams to come true! He loved Hannah so much, and wanted to give her the desire of her heart! So why did he close up her womb in the first place?

Barrenness and disappointment is an opportunity for our character to grow and develop like never before. It is truly a blessing in disguise. Without barrenness, we will not bear the fruit of desperation. And we must be desperate for God. We must be desperate for His presence. We must fully rely on Him, and Him alone.

We must fully rely on His Spirit, not on our own strength! Just think, if Hannah's womb wouldn't have been closed, and if her promise wouldn't have been delayed...what glory would that be? Hannah's story would be just another regular tale of a lady who got married and had a child. Instead, the Lord wanted to use her story to inspire thousands, teach us amazingly important lessons, and develop so many fruits!

Fruits of patience, joy, long-suffering, peace, goodness, faithfulness, thankfulness, and most importantly...total dependence on God! God got ALL of the glory out of her baby's birth, and God can get ALL of the glory from your miracle too, if you let Him develop what He desires to grow inside of you! 

Hannah offered her baby Samuel to the Lord. She knew that her blessings were not her own. It was simply a gift, given to her to steward. But it was a gift that she had to cry out for, and pay a price of patience and FAITH to receive! 

She had to wait and believe, then wait and believe some more, but that made the gift so much more precious when it finally came. 

"The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in great mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works."
{Psalm 145:8-9}

Sweet sister, the Lord loves you SO much, and He truly does want to bless you. He wants those dreams and desires that He has placed inside of you, to come to pass. But the King is endeavoring to get us to the place where He can safely give us every good and every perfect gift.

Any good Father knows, that if He gives his daughter a check for ten million dollars, he would be putting her at great risk! If she's never handled that kind of money before, how could she possibly be a good steward of that blessing? She would have friends (and enemies) coming out of the woodwork, to ask for a chunk of change, steal from her, and convince her to spend it on all sorts of foolish things. Boys would start lining up at her front door, asking to date her; not because they're in love with her heart, but want a piece of her treasure. Ultimately, what was supposed to be such a great and glorious gift, could severely hurt her. 

We've seen far too many young starlets in Hollywood have their innocence stolen, purity compromised, hearts shattered, and families destroyed because a "good and perfect gift" was given to them, far before they had the character, wisdom and grace to handle it! 

We are daughters of the Most High King, and the Lord desires to bless us far beyond all we can ask, imagine, or think. I can promise you this, my sister, He is NOT going to disappoint us. The season you're in right now is simply a training ground for what is to come. 

David took his "boundary lines" seriously. He took stewardship over the pasture that he was given. When a lion came to devour one little lamb, he went after it. He didn't shrug and say, "Eh, I only have three girls coming to my Bible Study. It's not like I'm speaking in front of a crowd of hundreds of people. It's really not a big deal." He didn't think, "My following is really small. I'll wait and get serious about God when I'm actually walking in the fullness of my dreams." 

He was fierce, passionate, and faithful to fight for the ONE. To be faithful in the NOW. What David did in the hidden secret place, where nobody clapped and nobody cared, God saw. The Lord saw David's tenacity, boldness, and faith to go after that lion! The Lord saw Hannah's faithfulness in the hidden place of intercession! The Lord SEES your faithfulness as you pray for the three girls who come to your Bible Study. The Lord SEES every quiet, hidden act of worship from your heart. He SEES and He is keeping a Master account of everything! 

Sisters, we have to get this. It's not about the crowds. It's not about the promotion. It's not about the situation you are in, or the way you were treated un-fairly by so and so...

It's about the quiet movements of our hearts, in the place that nobody sees. It's about how you react when you're rejected. How you react when you're applauded. How you react when your best friend gets promoted. How you react when your enemy gets blessed. How you react when you feel like giving up. 

What is the reaction the Lord is looking for? 
WORSHIP. 

He simply wants to know that our hearts are truly and fully His, NO MATTER WHAT. In big crowds, no crowds, lots of friends, no friends, children, no children, blessing, no blessing, marriage, no marriage, justice, injustice, joy, pain...

Will you worship? 

listen to "hero's" by amanda cook

"Awake my soul to sing, with Your breath in me,
You taught my feet to dance upon disappointment,
And I will worship..."