A Perfect Ten
Then Elkanah her husband said to her,
“Hannah, why do you weep, why aren’t you eating, and why is your heart sad?
Am I not better to you than ten sons?”
1 Samuel 1:8
Hannah really, really wanted babies. She was a woman, she lived in a culture that exalted motherhood, and she had an adversary who tormented her with gloating and scorn, for her adversary had many babies, whereas Hannah had none.
Elkanah, Hannah’s loving husband, sought to comfort her with the words found in the text above. But, like Rachel of old, she refused to be comforted.
Perhaps she should have been. For as close as motherhood is to the heart woman, closer still is wife-hood. For a woman, no relationship, apart from the one with God, should take higher priority. And as a rule, no relationship does. This is how things are, and this how they ought to be.
In all this, I hear a message to the Church. All Christians, and Christian leaders in particular, would love to see babies born into the Kingdom. The Church is the Mother of the Living, so she always yearns to see her children coming into the world.
But in the providence of God, she does not always see what she longs for. There are obstacles, delays, missteps. And sometimes there are impure motives as well. Sometimes we see souls and megachurches as little planets, orbiting around our own egos and ambitions. In such cases, purification and patience will be required as the the Spirit of Holiness works his way in the circumstances of life.
At such times we must ever keep before us the good words of Elkanah— but we must hear our Heavenly Husband speaking them:
“Am I not better than ten sons? Am I not better than hundreds of decisions? Am I not better than a dozen satellite campuses? If not, there is a problem. If not, we must work together on our marriage. For when I am better than ten sons in your sight, then our love will bear much fruit, and so you will prove to be my disciples.”