The God Who Knows

One of the stories that has ministered the most to me in this season of being single is the story of Hannah in I Samuel 1.

Hannah couldn’t have any children. Her husband would come to her and say “Hannah why are you weeping? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you then ten sons?”

Though she knew that her husband loved her, she still mourned over what she did not have. She longed for a child.

Hannah’s name means “Beautiful” or “Passionate.” We see that her name was very befitting to her. She went to the temple and she made a vow to the Lord. She said “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.”

In the course of time, God answered Hannah’s prayer. She conceived and bore a son and named him Samuel. Samuel means “God heard me.”

When her son was born, she worshiped God with this beautiful prayer:”My heart rejoices in the Lord… I delight in your deliverance. The Lord is a God who knows….He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.”

In the next few years Hannah conceived three sons and two daughters, but she kept her promise to God with her first son. Samuel grew up in the temple. As Ray Hughes says “Samuel had come from a place of worship, and now Hannah wanted him to live in a place of worship. ”

Samuel became the bridge of the old era to a new era, because he was considered the last judge of Israel and the first prophet of Israel.  The political atmosphere of Israel completely changed with Samuel. It went from a place where judgement ruled to a place where listening and responding to God ruled. Just as God did not judge Hannah but listened to her, Samuel was able to access a God who did not only judge, but listened.

A nation was changed forever. And it all came from a hurting woman who didn’t hide her disappointment with God, but poured it out to him.

About eight years ago, I bought a dining room table from a thrift store for my birthday. The table was very dusty, but when I rubbed off some of the dust, I saw how beautiful it was. In my mind’s eye, as clear as day,   I saw myself sitting with a family around that table. I saw us talking about our day. I saw friends that had come over and were having deep conversations over dinner. I saw children running around, playing hide and go seek, laughing.

I bought that table as a gift of hope to myself. I had great expectations that those those things would happen around that very table.

Recently, I had to sell that table.  That was more than a table to me. It was attached to my dreams. Nearly a decade after buying the table, those dreams did not come to pass. They were sold at a garage sale for a couple hundred bucks.

I believe that when that table was sold, God did for me what he did for Hannah. He did not mock my sadness over a piece of furniture. He knew it was not a little thing to me. He knew that I was disappointed, and He let me mourn.

God did not say to Hannah “You are so ungrateful! You have a husband that loves you. Isn’t that enough?” (As her husband points out.) Or “Be still my child. Know that I am God. I and only I am to fill this empty place in you.”

No, God did not answer her in that way. He heard her prayer. He heard the cry of her heart and He knew.

When God talks to me he calls me Katie Girl. Writing that name makes me teary, because it brings to mind an entire lifetime of journeys that I have walked with the Lord. I know my Father’s heart when I hear that name. I remember how much He loves me when I hear that name.

Recently, I was journaling out what I was hearing from God, like a letter from him. It is  something I often do when I need to hear his tender voice. I had just experienced a difficult rejection from someone that I care deeply about, and I was weeping much like Hannah wept. I asked Him the question I have asked more than any other in my life. “Lord, why has no one chosen me? Why do my relationships end in a broken heart instead of covenant? Why is that no one has fallen in love with me in such a long time? It aches so much. It doesn’t seem right.”

This is what he said: “Katie girl, you have been faithful to believe in my goodness even after many years of praying for a family. You are so strong and so patient. I am not letting go of you, love. You will not be left unrewarded for your faithfulness to me. I keep all of my promises”

He did not say “Now Kate, you aren’t trusting me in this place.” He did not say “Look at all that you do have, Kate. Be grateful for heaven’s sake.”  Yes, I do need to trust. Yes I do need to be thankful. Yes, I do need to let go of that dining room table for a season. But in that moment, God knew that I needed to mourn.

He did not tell me that I was weak. He told me that I was strong. So strong that I refused to let go of him, just like Hannah. That is what I needed to hear in that moment.

As my song “The Only One I Love” says

She is strong even in her weakness
In her weakness she’s lovely
She is strong in her darkest hour
When she runs when she runs to me
I weep when she reaches from me
I weep ’cause she loves me blind
I weep when she remembers
She’s the love, the love of my life

God does not mock my pain. He bends down to hold me when I cry. I would venture to say that he cries with me. Not only because he aches with me, but because he is so proud of the way I have trusted Him through this, the longest, hardest trial of my life. Because, like the song says, I have loved him blind.

He also loves me blind. He loves me even in my weakness. He sees past my  questioning and my frustration and he sees me faithful. He is the God that steers his eyes to see the bride beneath the harlot’s skin, the virtue underneath the sin.

Just like Hannah sang when she worshiped Him, He is the God who knows.

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19 thoughts on “The God Who Knows

  1. This was achingly beautiful. Thank you so much for writing this. So much of what we are told about God and theology would lead us to believe he sees our needs, or tragedies, our losses in just such a judging manner, when really he embraces and weeps with us. I don’t really know how faithful I have been through some of my hurts (though I would like to believe that I have been faithful, my faithfulness doesn’t really matter, only his). His love and embrace are so precious to me. Thank you for this post.

  2. Thank for for this and other such posts (…The Framed Picture I Have on My Wall…). It has given me such comfort today, and a challenge to remain faithful. I’m always excited to receive an e-mail that you’ve posted something new. With all my heart, thanks.

  3. When I was 17, I purchased some lingerie that I imagined I would wear on my wedding night. I kept it carefully stored away with my hopes, wrapped in tissue paper.

    I am now more than twice that age, and I still have not worn it. I’ve only changed the tissue paper a couple of times. I don’t think I will ever wear it, but I can’t bear to let it go.

    I envy you, hearing God speak to you like that.

    • Maybe you do need to let it go. Hold a funeral for your lost dreams and burn it? Maybe through that, God could bring peace.

  4. I really needed to read this tonight. I am so proud of you. I know that may sound weird coming from someone you don’t know, but I am proud of how you are true to yourself and to us when you write. I feel like somehow you are redeeming singleness from a place of disgrace. Thank you so much.

  5. All I can say is wow, how beautiful you share your heart. It isn’t easy but God is good somehow in it all. Miss you Cheryl

  6. Thank you for this post, Kate,thank you. Please don’t stop blogging! This post for me wasn’t about relationships, I’m still quite young for that (19) but a reminder of His faithfulness and how blessed we are to be in such a loving relationship with Him. Thank you Jesus! Loving us in every season has caused us to trust You in every season!

  7. I just echo what others have said… so beautiful. Hannah’s story is so precious to me as we hope and trust for a baby… which is similar to the hoping and waiting for your husband… trusting God and His perfect timing… longing but but not despairing… knowing that He sees and understands your longing… and that it will (eventually) make the fulfillment that much sweeter…. however He fulfills those desires….

  8. hai Kate,just want to say I love you,it feels like having an unknown soulmate. Thanks for your transparancy. I have said in the most hurting places: no matter what God is stuck with me and I am stuck with Him. Keep sharing.

  9. All of us at some point in our journey find ourselves weeping before the feet of God, waiting and hoping for His hand to move on our behalf. I find great comfort in being reminded that I am not the only one. That I am not forgotten. That the Father Himself waits with me as He makes all things good.

  10. Wow! Thank You for sharing not only what’s on your heart, but also putting words to what is in the heart of so many other single people. Your posts are always what I need to read, and I know it takes a lot of boldness to put these things out for everyone to read. Thanks for your honesty, it brings healing to my heart too.

  11. How I needed this tonight! I read with tears streaming down my face. Earlier this evening I had the thought (not for the first time), “the world (and unfortunately, the church) is not friendly to single people.” What a beautiful reminder of God’s tenderness toward us. I needed that. Thank you for your transparency and authenticity.

  12. Hannah’s story is my inspiration and light as well, in almost the same way. But this brought tears to my eyes, mainly because I can relate so well to this scenario. I am truly praying for you, Kate. May God bless you as you are an inspiration to many who are walking in this season.

  13. Kate,
    I am so moved by this story and the few others I discovered on your blog today so far ( I plan to buy your book very soon). I wept at our Savior’s gentle “Katie Girl” response to your mourning – I love His voice and know the special type of loneliness that comes from wanting a husband and family. I’ve wept on His chest countless times too. I am a 33 year-old woman struggling with celibacy and yet living a full-to-the-brim, joyful life. The ambivalence of being grateful for Jesus, good friends, solid community, and spiritual gifts – and still the aching longing for romantic partnership is so familiar to me. I’m a therapist and I especially appreciate the value of someone there to say “I know. It hurts.” Your sharing encouraged me today and touched me and I want to thank you for it. “The God Who knows” provided your words for my weary heart today. Thanks for allowing Him to use you.

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