1Samuel 1:16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman, I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.
In recent months, I have listened to many women lamenting their inability to conceive a child. Somehow the longing in their hearts for a baby translates into a hurt so deep; it seems to cut into the very fiber of their souls.
When Hannah was pouring out her grief of childlessness to the Lord in the temple, Eli mistook her for a drunk. In what could possibly be the first ever recorded act of a budding recovery program director, Eli admonished her to toss away her wine bottle.
ďDo not take your servant for a wicked woman, I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.Ē Her sanity must have startled him, since he had surely thought he was dealing with someone who could not think straight. Bidding her to go in peace, he sent her away with a spoken hope that the Lord would grant the desire of her heart. Scripture says he didnít even know what was wrong with her, he didnít even ask. At first, it seemed almost an uncaring brush-off to me, the manner in which he seemed to abruptly dismiss her.
As I re-read the passages, I found myself strangely allied with Eli. Listening to the heartbreak of my childless sisters, I find myself many times without words. What could I say? Nothing that would matter. They have been offered so many words of advice, words of warning, words of wisdom, but none of those words provide comfort to an aching soul. I find myself desperately not wanting to add fuel to the already smoldering campfire of pain.
So I ask myself: what can I do?
Taking a hint from Eli, I let my childless sister know that I will share her hope that the Lord would grant the desire of her heart. While Iím at it I pray that she be given a peace to accept what God would will for her life. It doesnít sound like much, it doesnít feel like much, but itís all I can sincerely offer to the women I know who long for a child to call their own.
I think of the Christian women that have come up beside me in my walk. There are several childless women that God has sent to help guide me in my search for Christ-like behavior. These women have been available to me as mentors, as prayer partners, as friends.
When I look into their eyes, I see the love of a mother looking back at me. I praise God for their enduring encouragement. When I look into their hearts, I see women whole-heartedly giving their precious time to build me up in the Word. I see a motherís spirit being fulfilled by the motherly love they pour into my soul.
I thank God they are there for me. I thank God they are able to share themselves with me. I know I may have been left out of their lives, if they had given birth to children of their own. Perhaps they would not have been able to minister to me in the times and places where our paths have crossed. Maybe it sounds selfish to say, but I am thankful they are in my life. They are my spiritual mothers. I am truly their child.
Dear Heavenly Father, today I ask you to give me grace and compassion when I hear the yearning of my sisters who are childless. Lord, I would ask you to grant the desire of their heart, and somehow open the way for them to have their very own child. Lord, only you know the anguish of a childless woman. Remember Hannah, Father God, and her act of worship in the temple. Lord, touch my hurting sisters with your peace that passes all understanding. Let them be able to accept your plan for their life. If you do not have physical children in your plan for them, Lord, please send them spiritual children to raise and adore, Lord. Help me to help my sisters know how important they are, to those of us that glean from their wisdom that only comes from such suffering, Lord. In the name of Jesus, we thank you, Lord. Amen.