Let’s Make a Deal


For years I suffered with infertility. The pain is just as real for women today as it was for women like Hannah. I remember the prayers, the tears, the cramps, the depression, the futility, the bargaining. For me, the culmination of all that grief was one particular night of yelling at God. It was, actually, during my pregnancy, while lying in the hospital in an inverted position with my feet raised high and my head lowered; my doctor had told me not to expect to carry my baby through the night. If I had lost that pregnancy after 10 years of trying … infertility drugs, surgery, hormones, basal temperature charts, daily blood tests, ultrasounds, injections, and a previous miscarriage … I couldn’t bear it. I lost all hope. I was done. I cried, I wept to God … even more to the point, I offered an ultimatum to my God. If God ever wanted me to be a mother, this child would have to survive, because I was not going to go through the pain of trying again. In a situation in which I was totally out of control, I had to take control of something … I made a deal with God … we came to an agreement … and, after another 13 weeks of bed rest and two more hospital stays with medical intervention, our daughter was born.

I guess that’s why the story of Hannah is so real, so raw, so true for me. Hannah, too, cries and weeps to God; she takes control of the one thing she can when the pain and futility of barrenness overwhelms her … She makes a deal, a promise, with God. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross names “bargaining” as one of the five stages io grief … we all do it … we make promises to God when we face great loss, in the hope that God will be lured by our offer.

But, God doesn’t bless us because of the deals we make … In this case, Hannah’s pain was so real, and her prayer so deep, she appeared drunk … out of her mind … to Eli. I think it’s out of compassion for her, out of respect for her honest relationship with God, that Eli offers her the blessing of God, and Hannah conceives. When Hannah gives up her child, Samuel, to the work of God, she shows that her faith in the providence of God is greater than her own needs or her own fears …

When have you made bargains with God? How did God respond? What have you learned about God from that experience?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s