In further study, the Lord led me to 1 Samuel 1:20:
So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, "Because I have asked for him from the LORD." [Emphasis mine].
There has been a process of time bringing me to this point in my life. I have become impregnated with the Word of God and am soon to birth that which He has placed in me - but there is a process.
Process - in the Hebrew according to The New Strong's Complete Dictionary of Bible Words has several meanings. The ones that the Holy Spirit seemed to highlight were:
1. After or end (#7093)
2. Chop off, cut asunder, into pieces (#7112)
3. Abundant, in quantity, size, age, quality, rank, to abound, exceedingly, mighty, multiply, process [of time] (#7227)
4. Increase, in whatever respect, be in authority, excel, continue to enlarge, grow up, heap . . . (#7235).
This sounds a lot like pruning to me. Anyone who works with plants knows that pruning and cutting off undesired growth will cause new growth and the plant will produce greater fruit. I guess another example I could use is that of the potter's wheel. Yes, I have been feeling the pressure of the Master Potter's hands. There is a process in making a vessel - but, once the vessel is complete - has gone through the fire - it is a sight to behold. The more times it goes through the fire, the stronger the vessel is. (We'll get into this discussion in another chapter.)
Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language's definition of "Process" is as follows:
A series of progressive and interdependent steps by which an end is attained;
A systematic series of actions directed to some end.
In Luke 1:30-35, 37-38, Mary is confronted by the angel of the Lord as follows:
30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.
32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33 "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"
35 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
. . .
37 "For with God nothing will be impossible."
38 Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. [Emphasis mine].
The angel told Mary that she was to conceive, what she was to conceive, told her what to call that which she conceived and prophesied as to the destiny of that conception! (Verses 31-35). Now, when Mary questioned the angel, it wasn't out of doubt but out of ignorance. She could not understand how she could conceive without a "man." Many of us think we must look to "man" to get us where we think we are to be. We depend on "man" to make things happen for us instead of depending on God. Now, God does use "man" but, it is God we must trust in and depend on for it is He who brings it to pass. God will provide divine contacts and appointments with people who may give you counsel. God may move through them to open doors or, close doors.
Getting back to Mary, how did the angel answer Mary? He said, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you . . .". That is all we need and that is what the Lord was saying to me:
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalms 91:1 [Emphasis mine].
As we spend time in the secret place of the Most High, we shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. We will be in position for the Almighty, the Most High to overshadow us - to impregnate us with that "Holy Thing" God has for us, which only we, individually, can conceive through the Holy Spirit. Receive the seed.
As with any pregnancy, there are periods of growth and development - in the natural these stages are called trimesters. During each trimester the child continues to develop and grow in the womb - in the secret place - unseen by man. God doesn't always make public the work He is doing in you. There are changes you go through, changes in appearance and attitude. Man does not always understand why you are going through these changes and challenges you or may try to discourage you. Some may even become jealous of what God is doing in you. Man may tell you there is no way God can use you for anything important because of the things you have been through, the life you led in the past. How can God use someone who has been involved with drugs or alcohol, someone who has lived an immoral lifestyle, divorced, etc.? God is not interested in where you've been as much as He is in where you are going.
During any pregnancy, the woman must be careful what she eats. A pregnant woman can't eat just anything. When Samson's mother became pregnant with him, the angel of the Lord appeared before her and instructed her as to how to care for herself because of the special child she was carrying.
"Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean." [Emphasis mine].
Same holds true in the spiritual. Anyone pregnant with that "Holy Thing" which God has placed in them must watch what they eat. Certain movies, books, magazines, television shows, music, gossip, etc. should not be ingested as it can cause problems with the development and birth of your spiritual baby, possibly even cause spiritual stillbirth. Instead we need to take pre-natal vitamins - the Word! Remember, you are what you eat!
So now, I purpose to totally yield to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to work in me, as He wills, to bring to full term and birth, that which He has placed in me - in the process of time.
Here I must emphasize the word "time." According to The New Strong's Complete Dictionary of Bible Words, it means:
1. Season (Hebrew #2166)
2. Appointed time, occasion (Hebrew #'s 2165 & 2163)
3. An occasion, set or proper time, opportunity, due season (Greek #2540).
Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language defines "time" as:
An appointed, fit, due or proper instant or period; the particular point in time when an event is scheduled to take place.
Just as with any pregnancy, there is a period of time which must pass before the birth actually takes place. There is an appointed time.
In Genesis 21:1, 2, Sarah conceived and bore a son, at the set time, the time which God had set, even though she was past her childbearing years.
1 And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken.
2 For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. [Emphasis mine].
Again, it does not matter what age you are, God has a set time for you to come forth and birth that which He alone has placed in you. There is a set time as stated in Ecclesiastes 3:17(b):
". . . For there is a time for every purpose and for every work."
Ecclesiastes 3:1 states:
To everything there is a season,
1 A time for every purpose under heaven: [Emphasis mine].
This scripture goes on to describe a life cycle - seasons which change over time. Even though we may be "going through" different seasons in our lives, rest assure that it is all working according to God's plan - if you belong to Him.
In Ecclesiastes 3:15 we read:
15 That which is - has already been, And what is to be has already been; And God requires an account of what is past. [Emphasis mine].
The God of eternity has set our path before us. God has a divine plan for eternity and He has ordained a purpose for your life. He completed your destiny before you were born. Our past was part of His plan. He knew what decisions we would make so He constructed our path to compensate for our decisions - good and bad. Not only that, but He knows what our future holds. He knows what decisions we will make in the future and has established the path we must follow in order to achieve His desired outcome. It is still our choice to follow the chosen path or to go in another direction. God knows our outcome. Since God created us with free will, the part we must play is to walk according to God's plan in order to bring His desired outcome to pass. We must stay connected to Him, being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and commit our ways to Him then, His preordained plan and purpose for our lives will come into being.
Jeremiah 1:5 states:
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee . . .
That which is - has already been; that which is to be - has already been. God has ordained it! This is so awesome! God can sit in eternity and look at our past, present and future all in one glance and know how we will turn out. "How?", you ask? Because He planned our lives before time began. I believe before our spirits which were in Him, left heaven to be placed within these fragile human frames, God spoke a prophetic word over us as to His plan and purpose for our lives. He also knows what He has purposed for each of us to accomplish in this lifetime and we are accountable to Him. He will judge what we have or have not done according to His purpose.
Ecclesiastes 3:15(b) continues:
. . . And God requires an account of what is past.
We all must go through different seasons in our lives. Some just have better seasons than others. Some experience winter more often than spring; some live in summer more than autumn. The purpose you are to serve may require you to go through more stormy and rough seasons than others. The greater the call God has put on your life the more difficult the process. ". . . For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask more." (Luke 12:48). And me? I think I have had more winter seasons than anything else but I also believe that I am finally getting ready for spring. It is a time for new things to be birthed. A time of new life and just like the flowers that bloom in spring, I will be bringing forth much fruit. Has the pruning been worth it? If God is in it, it's worth it!
Romans 8:28 -39
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
33 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Emphasis mine].
The good thing is that God loves us and nothing we go through - nothing - shall separate us from the love of Christ. Not tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword! Neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord for we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
I know you may feel like there is no coming out of where you are. You say you have been deeply hurt by people you love but, no love compares to the love of God. Even those of you who have been hurt by so-called "church folk", pastors and other church leaders; Jesus not only suffered by the hands of the church elders, they killed Him!!
We read of this account in Matthew 16:21:
21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. (Emphasis mine).
Jesus had to go to Jerusalem even though He knew He would suffer at the hands of church elders. Not only that, but that He would be killed! Many of us have gone through and suffered many things at the hand of church leaders but, just as Jesus said He would be raised on the third-day, you too will rise again. Even after Jesus had risen, His disciples went to the tomb searching for Him. The angel of the Lord asked them a question. According to Luke 24:5:
It is so strange to me that there are still those who had spoken evil over my life still expect to find me where they left me, wounded and dead! To this day they have not come to the realization that I have RISEN and am alive and well. They will not find the living among the dead.
If we look back a few verses to Matthew 16:13-17 we see Jesus asking the disciples, "who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" Some answered John the Baptist, some said Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. But Jesus wanted to know who they believed Him to be. Peter shouted out, "Son of the living God!" This had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. Men may think they know who you are but, it takes the revelation of the Holy Spirit to reveal who you really are to one who is willing to receive the revelation. So don't be so quick to accept what someone else is saying about you. Seek God and ask His Holy Spirit to reveal to you who you are in Him.
Be encouraged! That thing you're going through - it's just a thang! You can and will come through with flying colors because God is on your side.