I once gave my wife a broom for her birthday.
I’m that guy. And yes, I’m still married. Thank you very much.
And while that ‘present’ reflected a significant low point in our marriage, I would actually descend to a new depth several years later. I inferred. Correction, I actually suggested to my wife that I was of greater value to her than 10 children.
Not the thing you say to a woman scorned. To a woman despairing. To a woman waiting.
To a barren woman.
Hannah was my first wife. My second wife I took while married to her. I needed children. To carry on my family name. To assist me in my labor. Hannah, unfortunately, could not become pregnant.
What else was I supposed to do?
So I married again. The now popular saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” might have originally been attributed to the very complicated arrangement that I was now responsible for managing. Poorly, I might add.
My second wife was relentless in her disdain for Hannah. At any opportunity she would remind Hannah of her flat stomach and empty womb. It was a death blow that that was dealt on a monthly basis.
Yet Hannah remained expectant.
She sought her comfort from God Almighty.
On one of her many excursions to Shiloh, where we traveled once a year to worship Yahweh, she laid herself bare before Him. I’ll never forget it. Forsaking my comfort, she cried out to The Lord with words that were inaudible. Her lips moved, but no sound came from them. Oh, how I longed to comfort her! How I longed to give her what she desired. What every woman hopes for.
The priest at that time was Eli. He misinterpreted Hannah’s tear-laden intercession as drunkenness. He didn’t know my Hannah. She was pouring out her soul to The Lord. Like I had never seen before. Or since.
Finally Eli understood what was really happening. He whispered into Hannah’s ear.
And she became expectant.
Even though nothing changed, everything changed.
Hannah faced the jeering and public humiliation of barrenness with a new resolve. An inner strength. The kind that one can only possess when the promises of The Lord possess you. She was confident in the One who keeps His covenant of love to those who love Him. The reality of joy, steadfastness and peace was undeniable in the countenance of Hannah.
She was expectant. Then she was expecting.
And gave birth to Samuel. And then gave Samuel away. Keeping her promise to the One who kept His.
I know. I watched it all go down. Like an actor with a single line in a play. But I can now say that I too, am expectant. I’ve learned to trust in the One who can be trusted. The One who satisfies our desires with good things. The One who redeems our lives from the pit.
I’m expectant. Are you?
(inspired by our time at Shiloh)