What to Do While You’re Waiting for Breakthrough
Waiting. Barren. Dried up. Fruitless.
Every year was the same.
Going to corporate worship should have been a powerful, uplifting experience, but for Hannah it was more like a funeral procession.
Her dreams of having a child had been laid to rest.
She had spoken to God about this on numerous occasions, but the answer was always no.
At least that’s what she thought she was hearing.
As if the shame of a barren womb were not enough, Peninnah (Elkanah’s other wife) thought it appropriate to rub her nose in the humiliation. She taunted Hannah, showcasing her brood, while Hannah sat sulking over her lack of fertility.
Her husband didn’t understand.
No one could identify with her pain of barrenness.
Why would God not open her womb? She knew He could, that’s why she kept asking.
But she was tired.
She felt stuck in an unwanted situation with nowhere to turn.
She was ready to give up.
Have you ever felt like Hannah?
Are there barren places in your life that you’ve questioned God about?
Maybe it’s not barrenness in your womb, but in your job or a relationship.
Is there an area that seems to be dried up and lifeless, unable to be resuscitated?
We all go through seasons of dry spells, but some of those periods can last way longer than expected.
What to do While You’re Waiting for Breakthrough
Don’t Give Up- Regardless of Your Feelings
Hannah didn’t want to go to the yearly worship ceremony. She had been going for years, having to put up with Peninnah making fun of her barrenness.
Why should she go again?
She’d been so many times before, with no avail.
Do you ever feel like giving up?
When the odds seemed stacked against us, many times we want to throw in the towel and say, “I quit!” We want to disconnect from others, hide in a hole and sulk over our losses. The endurance is too hard, the pain is too great and the emotional rollercoaster of getting our hopes up again has lead us to want to retreat.
Usually resistance is hardest right before the breakthrough.
BUT….We will reap a harvest if we just choose to not give up!
Just like Hannah we have an adversary who wants to prevent us from connecting with others and from worshipping in the presence of God. Just like with Hannah, there is a blessing God has for us on the other side of perseverance. If we choose to keep going, we will see it come to pass.
Spend Time with God
Hannah had spent lots of time in prayer over this situation.
She’d asked many times and still didn’t receive the child she longed for.
Many times when we want something so intensely, we focus on that thing, rather than the Main Thing. We hold that dream as an idol rather than believing and applying the Word of God to it.
Hannah wanted an inheritance for her husband.
In her day it was considered to be a curse from God if a woman couldn’t have babies. She probably felt like a failure, like she had done something to deserve it.
She wanted a son to carry on the family name.
Was that wrong?
Interestingly, this time Hannah comes to God with a new attitude and a different request. She vows to Him,
“O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and a s a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord his hair will never be cut.” 1 Samuel 1:11
Hannah decided to take that dream that she had placed so high in her heart and lay it at the feet of God.
She had completely given it to Him.
Sometimes God is waiting on us to give Him our barren places—those things that we’ve squeezed the life out of because we’ve held onto them so tightly.
God doesn’t want to bless our plans, He wants us to get in line with His plan.
His plan is always so much bigger than what we ask for. He wants us to surrender those barren places, so that He can fulfill His purpose for us.
Surround Yourself with Others
When we are walking through the barren places, spending time with others is key to refreshing our souls and helping us to press forward. Although Hannah probably didn’t want to be around people, it was exactly what she needed.
It was after Eli’s encouragement and spending time with God that Hannah was refreshed in her perspective. God uses others to encourage us.
Due to my somewhat introverted nature, I like more alone time than some people.
But there are times, especially during the hard ones, that I need to be surrounded by people who will lift me up.
Eli was that person for Hannah, telling her, “Go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.” (1 Samuel 1:17)
At that moment, Hannah took his words and held them as hope.
She chose to believe.
When we are stuck in a rough season, we need others who will help us to see God’s view for our situations, when we can’t see it for ourselves. When the barren places seem dead and hopeless, God uses others to give us a glimpse of what those places could be–if we surrender them to Him.
What are you doing with the barren places in your life? Have you given up on them? Friends, God wants to take those dried up, fruitless places and resurrect them to a flourishing, thriving state. Although the waiting is hard, if we persevere, spend time in His presence and rely on others, we will surely see the hand of God move on our behalf.
Thank you Lord, that You never leave us where we are. You continually resurrect the places in our lives that we consider dead and withered. Father it’s so hard to wait for the results we want. Help us to endure; send others to encourage us. Sustain us as we wait on Your timing. We trust You and Your purpose for our lives. We freely give you all of these places. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
“Just like with Hannah, there is a blessing God has for us on the other side of perseverance. If we choose to keep going, we will see it come to pass.” This quote reminds me to be faithful, to be committed, to believe in the goodness of God and His good plan for me and mine. Visiting from #raralinkup today
Beautifully written my friend, xxoo
I understand this entirely.
Just today, my husband; who has been unemployed since September 2021, asked, “Why did God bring us here?”
We came because I had taken a third grade teaching position, yet resigned December 2, 2021. My principal said, “If you are so stressed out, why don’t you resign!” I did.
I stepped out in faith, or did the enemy take my job?
How to interpret the nightmares and the aftermath?
We are now in February without full time employment.
I tutor and substitute for $100. a day (if I get to work). Gone is our benefits. Now everything is out of pocket.
“Standing in Faith”, yes.
But definitely waiting, wondering, and questioning.
I really appreciate this post, not only because I’ve been through a fallow season in my life, but also since I had a perplexing dream a while ago where Jesus marries Hannah..at that time I didn’t know the Bible well, and never read about Hannah! But I see now it may have been speaking to a part of me that was feeling barren in my life, and that I needed Jesus..our hope..thank you! I love this post ..it’s helping me to really think more about that dream!
Wow, great thoughts on that Kathy! I love how God can gives us clarity through others. Thank you for stopping by today!
This is so great, Alisa! I love that you mentioned the importance of community while we are in barren life circumstances or seasons. Being amidst people who encourage me and point me to Jesus is something I need very much during rough seasons. Otherwise it is easy to hear the enemy’s lies and believe them because I don’t have people who are reminding me of God’s truth to battle against the lies. And to piggyback that, when I choose to be in the Word even if I don’t “feel like it” because of the barren situation I am going through, God is able to work through those seasons and remind me of His faithfulness and goodness despite my circumstances. I love Psalm 1 where it talks about the person who is focused on God’s law is like a tree planted beside the waters. I want to constantly be nourished by God’s Word so that even through barren seasons, I can still bear fruit and trust in God, even if that fruit doesn’t look like what I thought it should have. Like you said, God wants our hearts to be aligned to His heart and plans and sometimes we call something “barren” that He calls “opportunity” if we surrender it to Him.
I love that scripture, Elena! It’s so encouraging for those tough seasons in life. I love your perspective on the rough times- to be focused on God so you can still bear fruit during those seasons. Great stuff!! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts here today!
Thank you for this post. I know I have related to Hannah more times than I would like to remember. I appreciate your point that she had to take the things she wanted the most and lay it at the feet of God. Plus, I love your reminder that usually the resistance is the hardest right before our breakthrough. –your neighbor at #TestimonyTuesday
Thanks Debbie! Isn’t it so hard to lay those things closest to us down? I can definitely relate to Hannah in that way. Thank you for visiting today!
Alisa, I’ve been reading through these very scriptures this week myself! I love when Hannah lays her dream at the feet of God, and He blesses her with Samuel! In later verses we see He also blesses her with other children. Such a wonderful, encouraging post! Thank you!
I love when God confirms what I’m reading through other people!! It’s funny how in my mind I know laying down those things always end in blessing, but I still have a hard time doing it… Especially when it’s my children! Thanks for reading today!
Such beautiful wisdom here today, Alisa. I especially like remembering that God is not looking just to bless our plans, but to get us in line with HIS plan. Such an important distinction. Also that we shouldn’t give up, because we never know when that breakthrough is coming!
So true that we have to keep going inspire of our feelings. They can be so deceptive. And being willing to get in line with God’s plans . . . this life is so not about us. What an encouragement to know that God will bring life to the barrenness in His good time – our job is to keep our eyes fixed on Him.
So true, Abi! Feelings are fickle and will always lead us down the wrong path. Thanks for visiting today. Have a great week!
I felt very convicted by this post. It’s like you wrote it just for me. I could feel myself shrinking as I read it! I’ve definitely been complaining and murmuring far too much over our financial situation. I might need to print this off and read it daily, because I needed these reminders and a small kick in the pants to quit complaining!
I also never considered how I might be holding my dream of financial stability as an idol. Reading that was kind of a wake-up call.
All in all, thank you for this. I needed it.
I’m so glad it spoke to you, Leah! It definitely hit home for me too! It’s hard to let go of those places we are concerned about. Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself here today! Have a great week!
Beautiful post. I love Hannah and her example, her vulnerability and trust in the character of God- that He’s good. Thank-you for sharing.
Thanks, Brooke! Have a great week!
This is beautiful, Alisa. I know God is willing to bless my barren places but it is so easy to forget that when I’m in the trenches of despair. It’s like that guy in the Bible who said, “I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief.” I loved what you said that it’s at the point when we’re ready to give up that God shows up. That definitely gives me hope!
Thanks, my friend.
Thanks, Marva! I feel the same way! It’s like- I want to believe so Lord help me!! Thanks so much for stopping by today!
I know there have been times when I have given up way too soon, and thus forgone blessings. Sometimes pushing through when you see no hope or change in the situation is hard…so hard.
Blessed by your words today, thank you!
I agree, Alecia! Sometimes we just want to give up when it gets hard. But knowing there’s a blessing on the other side can help me to push forward in the midst of the struggle! Have a great weekend!
I loved your presentation of Hannah’s story. There is so much we can learn from her.
I think we all have those barren places that keep us inwardly moaning. But God knows our story. He promises to finish His work in us. I have to trust through my pain that He will never leave nor forsake me, even if my pain never lifts.
Thank you, Alisa, for this post. I hope your evening is blessed.
Thanks, Gleniece! You are so right. We all have barren places at some point. But praise God they aren’t barren forever! I have to constantly remind myself that there are seasons in life. Those times aren’t always the easiest, but usually we learn the most from them! Have a blessed week. Thank you for visiting today!
” God doesn’t want to bless our plans, He wants us to get in line with His plan.” Your message is full of such powerful truth! Thank you! Hannah’s story is near to my heart. We struggled with infertility for 7 years. Your post today revealed even more beautiful nuggets from a biblical heroine I’ve long admired. Blessings! (Your “neighbor” over at #livefree.)
Cindy, it’s amazing to me how God uses the people in the bible for us to relate to in so many ways! Although I’ve never struggled with infertility, I’ve dealt with many other barren places. Thank you so much for visiting today and sharing a small piece of your story! Praying God continues to bless you! Have a wonderful weekend!
Thank you for these beautiful words. I have barrenness in my life now as I am waiting to discover what’s next. My time is filled but with things that are not always of my choosing. Waiting can be hard but can be the most rewarding thing if we stick it out. Thank you for words that encourage us to do exactly that. Blessed to be visiting you from Dawn’s place today! 🙂
Thank you, Mary! Waiting is so difficult isn’t it? A few years ago I went through a full year of waiting for what to do next. I’m not going to lie… It was torturous! But looking back, God used that time to draw me closer to Him and really mold my character. Thank you so much for stopping by today. I’m praying that God will sustain you during your time of waiting and bring you through to a place that is more abundant than you could ever imagine!
This is beautiful, Alisa. I relate to Hannah on so many levels, and you’ve unwrapped her in a fresh way for me. <3
Thanks, Lyli! I can so relate to her! Have a great weekend.
Alisa, thank you for the beautiful reminder to “not give up” when life feels bleak and barren. Having been in a place like this before I appreciate the wisdom and encouragement you offer here. “God doesn’t want to bless our plans, He wants us to get in line with His plan.” – A difficult lesson to learn; yet powerful when we come into agreement with Him. Have a blessed weekend, my friend!
Thanks Leigh Ellen!
“God doesn’t bless our plans, He wants us to get in line with His plans.” Love that. His plans are so much better than ours are. And, I suppose the faith is in the waiting. Great word this morning, Alisa. So glad to be your linkup buddy at Susan’s place today. Thank you for sharing. ((grace upon grace, sister))
Thanks Brenda! Faith is definitely in the waiting! Have a great weekend!
Alisa, very good post, chucked full of truth, truth and more truth. I have read several this morning as I did a little surfing blogs for encouragement and I found it in your words. Love the story of Hannah, God used her to teach a valuable truth that with Him all things are possible. Blessings.
Yes, Betty! I got the same message as I read through Hannah’s story: All things are possible with God! I’m so glad you stopped by today! Have a great weekend.
I appreciate the words of hope! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Nancy! Have a great weekend!
I love this! Such encouragement! “usually the resistance is strongest right before the breakthrough. We will reap a harvest if we just choose to not give up!” – Yes.Yes. and AMen! Sharing this!
Blessings and smiles,
What a good word, Alisa.
I love the story of Hannah, and your post brings out so many practical points. I really appreciate this reminder, “However, usually the resistance is strongest right before the breakthrough. We will reap a harvest if we just choose to not give up!”
We are in one of those barren seasons.
Daily we take one step at a time and press on!
Sharing this one today – I found you on Modest Mom.
Thanks Melanie! Praying for you guys, believing God will turn this barren season into something beautiful!
Perseverance, scripture, and fellowship. Always the right prescription for spiritual hopelessness. Thanks for the reminder.
Thanks Jolene! I’m so glad you stopped by today! Have a great week.
Thank you for reminding me to embrace the resistance…because the breakthrough is near. I love Hannah’s story. There is so much God teaches us from her prayer. I am so thankful for friends that build me up when I’m in danger of lingering too long in a season of doubt.
Oh, Meg! Me too- we all need friends to encourage us along the way!! Have a great week, friend!
Oh, isn’t Hannah’s story encouraging? Thanks so much for sharing the lessons you’ve learned about making it through any kind of barren time. So uplifting!
Thank you for joining the Grace at Home party. I’m featuring you this week!
Thank you so much Richella! I’m honored you have chosen to feature me!
I love Hannah’s Story and all the faith that implodes in her single act of seeking Him as her source. I love that she went away full of God and not worried about the issue she laid at His feet. And once she was full of Him, once she got God, the promised seed became a fruit in her heart and her body.
So many deep truths in this but mostly I want to remember that we need to get ahold of HIm. Let His presence be enough and trust that He is not only hearing but answering us with a resounding yes full of love.
Thanks for sharing this at #GraceMoments, Alisa.
Thanks Dawn! I love Hannah’s story as well! There’s so much richness to learn from it!
Great post! It’s so easy when we hit these barren places to just hole-up and self-pity! I love that the blessing is right around the corner.
You spoke to my heart today!
Your #TestimonyTuesday neighbor,
Thanks, Julie! Have a wonderful week!
I love this, Alisa. It reminds me of an article about marriage saying how couples often give up during those barren seasons, but if they would simply keep trying and not give up they would see fruit. I have been there in both my relationship with God and others, and as hard as it is it is worth pressing on. Thank you for this!
Thanks, Abby! It is so easy to give up when we don’t see fruit, isn’t it? We are used to instant gratification, which means sometimes we assume something is dead when the fruit doesn’t come when we expect. I’m learning to listen and wait. Thanks for stopping by today!
So much goodness here, Alisa. But this…”resistance is strongest right before the breakthrough.” It’s so true that we can fight an uphill battle against an enemy that wants anything but our victory. Love your encouragement to lean into God – even when we don’t feel like it. So glad to visit from #testimonytuesday today.
I cannot tell you how much I needed this today. Saw this Pin on Pinterest and I could feel the Lord telling me to read it. Thankful He used you to speak to me. <3
Beautiful encouragement! So glad it poppped up on Pinterest for me today! Blessings!
Thank you for this encouraging post, Alisa! Hannah’s story is certainly an inspirational one. I’ve many times tried to envision myself as her– barren and housed alongside your own husband’s wife who’s able to conceive with ease- ouch! Yet, life sprouted from a place where there seemed to be no hope. Thank you for paralleling her story in such a practical way to our everyday lives.