Standing in Need

Now, Hannah was a woman who knew her God.  She knew that her barren womb was not something her husband could do anything about, so she went straight to the source.  She poured out her soul to God.  God heard her and opened her womb.  She then gave that child up to God.  After that, God honored Hannah's sacrifice and gave her several more children.  That sounds simple enough, but it doesn't mean that Hannah didn't go through anything.  She, also, was married to a man with an additional wife who seems to have no trouble having children.  To make matters worse, this other wife provoked Hannah out of jealousy and sought to irritate her by teasing her about the fact that she was childless.  Poor Hannah would get so upset that she would weep and couldn't eat.  Couldn't eat!  I'm sorry, but nothing stops me from eating.  This woman, though, couldn't eat, and here her husband was truly in love with her, so much so that he gave her a double portion when they went to sacrifice before the Lord.  This was why Peninnah, the other wife, was picking at Hannah in the first place.  Though she had children, she knew she was playing second fiddle, and she wasn't about to allow Hannah to enjoy her most-loved position in peace.  Now, Hannah's insightful husband, Elkanah, asked Hannah a very interesting question here.  He said, "Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?"

That is deep!  Hannah had a classic case of "One-Tree-Itis," a disease that hits us all.  It causes us to overlook all the other trees from which we can eat of freely and instead long after the one tree we can't have.  Our desire for that one thing will cause us to stop eating.  We will stop eating life and all that it offers.  "One-Tree-It is" paralyzes us.  It shuts us down.  We cease to sample all our other options.  Hannah was not free to enjoy the gift that her husband truly loved her and would do anything to make her happy because she got stuck on her barrenness.  Keep in mind here that she had some help concentrating on this blaring fact.  Many of us would probably be alright if there weren't some friend or relative around to constantly rub salt in the wounds of our desires.  But when they speak, pointing out our lack, the heat is on.  The pressure is almost suffocating, and we feel we have to produce something just to silence the voices.  And God says to us all, "Don't I mean more to you than ten of those?  Don't you crave My purposes being fulfilled in your life more than that temporal thing that you so badly long for?"  What's your answer?

When Hannah had had enough of everyone and their opinions, she got serious with God.  She got so serious that she was praying and no sound was coming out.  Have you ever prayed until you were speechless?  Well, Hannah did.  And God heard the cry of her heart.  Not only did He Hear her, He had Eli, the high priest, tell her that her request had been granted.  And because Hannah's confidence was in God, not in her husband, she went her way with a smile on her face.  As a matter of fact, the first thing she did after that was to eat something.  When you get a word from God concerning the things that lay heavy on your heart, you'll get freed up to partake of all He has put before you to enjoy in the meantime.  Nothing affects a man like a woman with a downcast countenance.  He never knows what to do with the information that you are sad, especially if it is a situation he can do nothing about.  He will retreat out of his own sense of failure.  So get a word from the Lord in order to restore the joy level in your surroundings.  Hannah ate something, and her countenance wasn't downcast anymore.  She went and worshiped the Lord because she had a promise with which she could run.  She went back home, lay with her husband, and conceived.

This applies to any of us who expect the man in our world to produce peace, self-worth, validation, or even material things.  God is ultimately our source of all these treasures.  We will strive, weep, and deprive ourselves of opportunities to live a full life if we put our hope in a person to fulfill our expectations.  Trust me, it won't happen.  There's only One who delivers everything our hearts crave.

"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want" (Psalm 23:1 NIV).

"Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!" (Isaiah 31:1 KJV).

When our sights get set on the arm of flesh, we will always be let down.  Man can only do so much, but God can do any and every thing.  It is not a man who will make our life fruitful, but rather our own yielding to God's call to fulfill our purpose through the use of our gifts and talents.  As we live in the moment, making the best of every occasion to lift the spirits of those around us, our world will change for the better.  We will become more joyful and productive individuals who now attract a different type of person into our inner circle.  It is of the utmost importance that we as women become complete, whole individuals as Christ completes the vacuum within us.  Only then will we attract whole men who can step up to the plate in their relationship to us.  Why?  Because we won't settle for anything less.

Well, Michelle, you say, I'm already stuck with a man who has just abdicated on me.  How do I get him to step up to the plate and just do what God would have him to do?  You know, the basics – like being a for-real husband and a father?  Not an absentee bill-payer.  I know some of you are thinking, hmm … him paying the bills?  Now, wouldn't that be refreshing!  Yeah, girl, how do I maintain my femininity when my man won't help me?  How do I keep my dress on while he's trying to squeeze me into wearing the pants in the family?  The answer is easier to say than it is to do.  Stop rescuing him.

B-b-bbut, Michelle!  If I don't pay the bills, the lights will get cut off!  If I don't do this or that, it won't get done!  I understand all of that but do you understand that until you create a void for him to fill, he will not rise to the occasion?  In some cases, your rescue attempts have circumvented lessons the Lord wanted to teach that man.  When Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord, he wrestled alone.  He had already sent his wives and children ahead of him.  Though they were a part of his life and their destiny was wrapped up in whatever happened to him, whether he went backward or forward on the journey was between him and God.  I could just see it now if the wives were still with Jacob when the wrestling match began.  They all would have been involved, trying to pull the stranger off of Jacob.  Stop, you're going to hurt him!  Well, sometimes a man needs to acquire a limp to find out what time it is.  Then he'll find that it is time to rise up and become the man God has called him to be.

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" (Ephesians 5:25 KJV).

"So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.  He that loveth his wife loveth himself" (Ephesians 5:28 KJV).

"Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered" (1 Peter 3:7 KJV).

Yes, God really did mean for that man to take good care of you.  But he'll only do that if you let him.  One of my male friends put me in check the other day.  We were walking along and I was telling him about this very book.  So he said to me, "Well then, if you're supposed to be so feminine, why are you lugging around those two heavy bags?  You didn't even ask me to carry them for you!"  I laughed and promptly handed them over.  To be perfectly honest, I wasn't even thinking about it.  I'm so used to carrying my own load that I simply forget.  But I got the hang of it really fast.  As we got ready to leave the building to go to his car, which was parked a short distance away, I looked outside and saw the snow.  Casting a glance his way as he relayed to me that the car wasn't far, I said, "Well, if you were truly doing your job, and I were truly being a feminine woman, you would go get the car and come back to pick me up."  He stopped short and said, "Oh, okay!  You wait right here; I'll be happy to do that!"  I chuckled to myself as he went his way and returned minutes later with a big grin on his face.  He was quite pleased with himself that he was being such a gentleman, and I made some quip like, "My hero," or something along those lines.  Needless to say, I've never had to ask him to go get the car again.  It's automatic.

Now, that's a simplistic story compared to the major issues some of you are dealing with, but the same principle applies.  First, you must begin with yourself.  Just because he has abdicated his responsibilities as a man does not mean that you roll over and resign yourself to the fact that he just doesn't seem to get it.  No!  Keep your expectations intact, and let him know that you expect him to be the man he's supposed to be.  Follow that through by leaving the space for whatever he is supposed to be doing vacant.  That means if he doesn't do it, it doesn't get done.  A pastor friend of mine told about a lady parishioner who complained about her husband not paying the bills on time.  My friend told her to allow the lights to be cut off.  Well, this piece of advice just rocked this lady's world.  How could she do that?  Simple, replied the pastor, don't rescue him from his own negligence.  When the lights go off, he will become acutely aware of his responsibilities and do something about it.  After that, it won't happen again.

I know this is true based on two conversations I have had with male friends who were discussing the pros and cons of leaving their wives.  In both cases, the reason the man remained was because he didn't think his wife could function without him.  Though these men felt that they were no longer in love with their wives, they were of the opinion that their wives were still wonderful women and they felt responsible for their well-being.  Each man couldn't bear the thought of a woman who did not deserve to be hurt having her world crumble all around her because her husband wasn't there to keep up the walls.  So they went back home and applied themselves to making their marriages work.

Sarah did not rescue Abraham, I can tell you that.  When he twice passed her off as his sister in foreign territory and she was taken, she didn't open her mouth.  After God intervened in both cases, the kings asked for an explanation from Abraham.  He was held accountable.  They didn't address Sarah at all, never asked her why she didn't say something.  Abraham was her covering.  He was responsible.

This is why God Asked Adam where he was after the fall in the garden.  God knew that Eve  had taken the first bite, yet he addressed Adam.  In God's design, Adam was responsible for Eve, and he had slipped on the job.  He had relinquished his role as protector.  Because he did not intervene in Eve's deception and then -- even worse – willfully rebelled by joining her in her sin, he would be punished.  Because Adam wanted to do things his way and not God's way, he would now find out how difficult it would be to do what was once simple with God, without Him.

It was simple to lead the woman when Adam did it with God.  Now, leading her without God only resulted in her rebellion.  The woman would rebel, the ground would rebel, everything in his world would rebel against him.  But he would still have to produce because it was demanded of him.  So just imagine what would happen if the demand were taken away.  You got it!  Man would sit down for a long rest, relieved the struggle was over.  Now is the time to remind that man he has been redeemed from the curse of the law.  It's time to pick up his cross and, while he's at it, he can take the garbage out.  He can take time with his children and be a good example to them.  He can cover you and protect you from the things that threaten to stretch you beyond your personal resources.  He can treat you the way he treats his own body, as he has been commanded by the Lord, which means he will take good care of you. 


Taken from "The Power of Being a Woman" (formerly "The Power of Femininity") by Michelle McKinney Hammond; Copyright 1999/2004 by Michelle McKinney Hammond; Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR; Used by Permission.

Michelle McKinney Hammond, a writer, singer, and speaker who focuses on improving love–driven relationships, is the founder and president of HeartWing Ministries as well as the cohost of the Emmy–nominated show "Aspiring Women." Michelle is the author of "The DIVA Principle", "101 Ways to Get and Keep His Attention", "Sassy, Single, & Satisfied", "Secrets of an Irresistible Woman", "What to Do Until Love Finds You", "Get a Love Life", and "The Power of Being a Woman."