I enjoyed reading this post about Hannah. It’s from a website called Childless.me (I love the tagline of that site: An open heart is better than an open womb). Rather than write my own, I’m going to share hers with you. I plan to write a post soon about my personal favorite barren woman of the Bible, Sarah. For now, here’s Hannah…
Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons? 1 Samuel 1:8; Like with Sarah, any Barren Women of the Bible series would be lacking without Hannah’s infertility story.
Before the gun is jumped on the opening verse; no, a husband cannot fill a baby-shaped hole in a woman’s heart. And God understands, He has noted in Proverbs 30:15-16, “…There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.”
Hannah’s barren years MAY have been all or mostly down to the timing of Samuel’s entrance into the world and her being inspired to embrace God’s plans for her firstborn. People often consider if God is saying “Yes“, “Wait“, or “No / I’ve got other plans for you“. It’s clear Hannah got a “wait” response even though she didn’t hear it until just before Samuel was conceived. I hope in my case there’s a “wait” I am not privy to yet. Although, when I see what is going on these last days my heart goes in the direction of “No.” So, while I float between “Please Lord” and “On second thought..” I wait by default. (See the third paragraph in this article:“The Role of Faith”; it can be hard to determine the answer even if it’s coming to you.)
Those comments in the article I linked to, the ones the author mentions in the first paragraph, Hannah likely heard some versions of. Aren’t we tempted to take what people say to heart, especially when we’re already down and extra sensitive? Then we also hear comments like Elkanah’s opening statement here, well meaning, but missing the magnitude of an empty womb. There are some highly sensitive husbands out there (as there are some highly insensitive), Elkanah is probably pretty average in that regard? Some males handle infertility so strangely in our eyes, they seem indifferent. Finally we have Hannah’s sister wife, Peninnah, who was apparently keen to make jabs over Hannah’s infertility. Just imagining all these voices in her life, *I* feel isolated! And to think, we haveour own voice to contend with also!
In 1 Sa 1:15 the long waiting Hannah states what we know well, “I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit”. I can only speak from my situation, I am not harassed by a sister wife or a sister for that matter. My husband is not as effected, but he understands more than he knows (he lost a wife and four children to a cult). He copes by doing his best to put them out of mind. I’m sure that is a daily practice. As for others, yes I hear some well meaning but hurtful comments occasionally. It’s not common, thankfully. For the most part, hurtful words aren’t an issue in my life. Other peoples having “it all” is only hard to watch on the rare extremely sensitive, hormonal day. (I did go through a bitter phase that was much worse!) Oh dear Hannah, she had to see her sister wife’s children run around all day. Hannah had it worse than me, I am sure of that.