I will be writing this book chapter by chapter. Each chapter will be released by Tuesday morning. There will also be an audio podcast of each chapter as well.
The old lady cleaned up the meal they ate minutes ago. Her husband sat outside of their home relaxing and humming some song he made up a few years before. She could not bear the heat any longer today, however, as the sun beat down anything in its path. She loved her husband, but she no longer trusted him. You’d think after 60 plus years of marriage, trust would be the foundation of their relationship. The events they walked together were more than a lifetime of goods, bads, and craziness. The soreness in her back flamed up, and she felt every bit of her 90 years.
“Honey, are we expecting any visitors?” Her husband said from the door.
“I don’t believe so,” she said.
She heard him slowly stand and walk away from their living space. Slow footsteps moved away from earshot, until she heard his voice again in the distance. She thought his footsteps were a bit faster than normal, almost as if he ran to them. Years before this wouldn’t have surprised her, but now he was almost 100.
“Please, my friends, stop here for a while and rest. Sit under the shade of this tree, and my servants will wash your feet.” The man snapped at a nearby servant who quickly walked to the well to get the water he promised the men. He continued talking to his visitors. “Since you have honored me with your visit, let me prepare some food to refresh you before you continue on your journey.”
One of the men answered the old man’s statement. The three men all looked young, and like they could be brothers. Dark hair, dark complexions, and rock solid features.
“All right sir, please do as you have said.”
For the next several hours, the old man and woman worked tirelessly for the three guests outside their home. The men laughed and talked and seemed content with one another during those hours. When the food was ready, the old man quickly hobbled to them and served them the yogurt, milk, and roasted meat.
The men thanked him and they talked for a while under the shade of the large oak tree about 50 yards from his home.
“Where is your wife?” One of them suddenly said.
Surprised but unfazed, the old man replied, “She’s inside our home.”
“We’ll return here next year at this time and she will have a son.” The man said.
A silence fell as the old man chuckled slightly. Had he misheard his guest’s words?
A slightly louder laugh gasped from back towards the home. The guests and the old man turned around to see the old woman listening in on their conversation. She brought water for them to drink and when she heard the guests last words, she laughed. Not an eruption, but just enough to get their attention. She whispered to herself, “How could an old woman like me enjoy the pleasure of having a baby. My husband couldn’t even help me with that at this point.”
“Why does she laugh? Is there anything too hard for the One true God?” The guest said to her husband.
The woman moved slowly to the group of men, filtering in her mind what she should say. “I didn’t laugh!” She pleaded defensively.
The guest boldly responded, “You did laugh.”
More silence. Suddenly the old woman understood what she should say. After 90 plus years of hardship and pain, she would now speak her mind, as if she had nothing to hide, and every reason to vent. She walked over to the group angrily, and sat down. In her culture, this was inappropriate, but now she did not care. Especially if this guest was who she thought it was.
She slowly sat down with the help of her shocked husband who grabbed her hand and guided her down to the ground. The trip to the dirt felt miles longer than it had for the first 70 years of her life, and though she was “a young 90” according to her husband of many decades, she doubted whether she would be able to get back up if these men were not visiting.
“Ok, I laughed.” She said almost scolding the men. “I am 90 years old. I have longed, begged, yelled, pleaded, and cried hours and hours of tears to God because my desire to have a child was so strong. But this one true God you speak of has chosen to turn his back on me. He has not heard my voice. He has gone silent when I needed him the most. And to make it worse, my husband continues to hear from him on a supposedly regular basis. He tells me he is going to be the father of a great nation. He tells me his descendants will be like the sands of the seashore and the stars in the sky, and I stare at him, knowing that none of those things will happen from me, the one he has loved for all these years. I have endured unspeakable things, young man, for my husband and for this one true God.
“So yes, I laughed, and for this next year, until apparently, the next time I’ll see you again, I will continue to laugh at your ridiculous claims about my life. You know nothing about me, so don’t ask me some sort of judgmental question about whether or not anything is too hard for this one true God you are speaking about.”
More silence as the woman began to weep. Two of the guests and the woman’s husband bowed their heads uncomfortably, but the third guest, who had been doing all of the talking, stared straight at the weeping matriarch.
“I do know you,” he said softly, “but why don’t you tell me about those things. Those things you have endured and gone through? Why don’t you share with me those events you walked, which molded you to become the person you are today?”