Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Infertile women in the bible

For the next few weeks in my support group we are looking at different women in the bible who have experienced infertility, seeing that our support group is called Hannah Group it was appropriate to start with Hannah. Now i'm not proficient in the bible at all, the stories i remember are things i was told during the boarding school years and honestly i really prefer to read old testament events when God had more of a flair for the theatrics.

After doing some reading online about Infertile women in the Bible (there are quite a few but not as many as you would think) i found that some women were only mentioned in the bible in regards to their inability to conceive children, not much about what else they did as women, how they lived their lives, how they dealt with their infertility that is until Hannah. Also the thing to mention is the husbands in all these stories loved and supported their wives, they were happy with their wives but the wives were not content not being able to provide a male child for their husbands. In the ancient world the first born male was supposed to take care of his mother if anything were to happen to the husband, so imagine the stress these women were in, they were not just worried about the future of their family but they were also worried about their own survival.

You can read more about Hannah in 1 Samuel 1

"Hannah had no children ... and she was in bitterness of soul ... and she vowed a vow... wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then i will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life... and the Lord remembered her.... Hannah had conceived that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because i have asked him of the Lord"

" For this child i prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which i asked of him" Samuel 1:2

Hannah did as she promised and presented her first born Samuel to God and she went on to have several more children.

Hannah's story is one of the first ones where you can actually read a description of how sad she was, how bitter she was, how upset she was for not getting the one thing she desires most; how envious she was of her husband's second wife who was able to bare children. In today's diagnosis she was probably depressed; she refused to eat, she was unhappy and desperate for a child. She reminds me of every woman i've spoken to going through this season of their lives. Hannah would pray frantically asking for the baby she longed to have, she prayed so hysterically that the priest thought she was drunk. I imagine her sometimes just bursting into tears for no apparent reason and probably a lot of her acquaintances and neighbors thought she was losing her mind.

She made a promise to God that if he gave her son she will present him to God to serve him for the rest of his years. Who hasn't made similar promises? I have. I've promised God i will name the baby this or that. I've prayed novenas and quit and prayed again. I promised that i will be nicer to people. I've promised that i will never ask for anything else, then i've thought about my promises and tried to re-negotiate cause i felt maybe i wasn't ready for absolute commitments.

The difference between Hannah and me is that she never gave up, she always went to God when she felt in need of someone to listen to her; i on the other hand struggle with trust and hope and i simply can't let go of the reigns. Maybe back in the day they had less distractions, no other resources or support options, maybe she felt she couldn't confide in anyone else, but whatever the reason she trusted that she can dump all her sorrows in front of God and he will take care of it.

If God loves all his children equally i have to trust that he loves me just as much as he loved Hannah and the other women in the bible. I need to learn to trust that just as he remembered Hannah (several times) he will remember me and all my sisters who are suffering, often silently and in isolation, and help us find the peace and joy we are praying for non stop.

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