Here we come once again to another barren woman. This time, Hannah, who weeps bitterly and prays to the Lord.

It’s always the barren woman, isn’t it?

I suppose in some ways, this is the ultimate test of faith.

Because some things you can make happen by force of will. You can make yourself work harder, get stronger, plan smarter. You know the steps, you just have to figure out how to reach them.

Some things are out of your control.

Having children, in many ways, is one of those things.

Sure, you can have an idea and a plan, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work out. Even taking our modern concerns of things like love and timing out of it  — a woman in Biblical times would not have approached marriage in any way resembling the love based way we do, nor would she have been concerned with balancing a baby with her career — there is only so much you can do.

You get married. You try. You hope. You pray.

Then you have to let go because it’s no longer in your hands.

Whether you believe the outcome is in the hands of God or biology or both, the reality is that it isn’t in human hands, not really.

So you have barren women who pour their tears out to God and ask for a child. Who bargain and pray and don’t let up hope that their prayers will be answered.

When you think about it, it’s a pretty big act of faith.