The Power of a Woman's Life
- Friday, May 13, 2005
When the history of the word is finally told rightly – one of the great joys when we reach the Wedding Feast of the Lamb – it will be as clear as day that women have been essential to every great move of God upon this earth.
I wanted to say "nearly every great move," not wanting to overstate a crucial point and recognizing that there are moments when men have led the way. But Stasi chimed in and said, "Thos men had mothers, didn't they?!" I was thinking of Moses who seemed to lead the Exodus, but it quickly dawned on me that it was his mother who saved his life as a baby (at the risk of her own life and the lives of her entire family). It was his sister who stayed with the babe and suggested a nursemaid when pharaoh's daughter took him for her own. (That nurse would be, of course, his mother). Okay, I concede. Women have been essential to every great movement of God.
Certainly there are those amazing moments in the Old Testament like the story of Rahab who secured the Hebrews' successful military launch into the Promised Land. And Esther who saved her people from genocide and secured the future of Israel … and of the world. It's clear that women supported the ministry of Jesus, financially and emotionally, and women were the ones who stayed with him when nearly all the men hightailed it and ran. As we read the story of the spreading Gospel and the birth of the Church in the New Testament, we encounter women like Lydia whose home became the staging point for the evangelism of Thyatira and Philippi; women like Nympha and Apphia who hosted the emerging church in their homes – again, at great risk to themselves and their loved ones. There is Priscilla, who risked her life to help Paul spread the Gospel, and Junias, who was with Paul when he was in prison and whom he calls "outstanding among the apostles" (Romans 16:7).
And of course, the salvation of mankind rested on the courage of a woman, a teenage girl. What if she had said, "No?" What if any of them had said, "No?"
To try and give honor to women in the sweep of history is impossible here. It would be easier to think of any of the great or small turning points in God's rescue of mankind and try to find one where women were not irreplaceable. From the beginning, Eve was God's gift to the world – his ezer kenegdo for us. History is still unfolding and your existence on this earth as a woman is proof that you have an irreplaceable role to play. You are a woman, are you not? An ezer kenegdo to your core. Your lingering disbelief (may it be fading away) that anything important hangs on your life is only evidence of the long assault on your heart by the one who knows who you could be and fears you.
There is much life saving that needs to be done yet, and someone needs to do it. Not in a pressure-filled, You'd better get to it kind of way. Rather, an invitation. Your feminine heart is an invitation by your Creator. To what? To play an irreplaceable role in his Story. Isn't that what your Lover wrote there? Some dream, some desire, something so core to who you are it almost hurts to think of it. The very longing is such a part of your being it's scary even to give it a voice. You may not know the dream itself yet. But you know the longing to play an irreplaceable part. That is a good beginning.
Ezer is woven into the fabric of your feminine heart. You must live this out. What lives, what destinies are hanging on your, "Yes" to God?
Your Irreplaceable Role
Our friend Jeannine has been a career missionary with OMS for thirty-two years. For the last fourteen, she has been pouring out her life in Medellín, Colombia – a city and a country infamous for drug cartels, murders, violence – a culture of death. It is not a place friendly to Christianity. "Sixty pastors a year are murdered in Colombia," she told us on a recent visit. Jeanine first followed God's call to teach Hebrew in a seminary there. Then he upped the stakes, asking her to minister in the country's notorious prisons. A single woman, walking into overcrowded, all-male prisons filled with hardened criminals – an incarnation of hell on earth – to bring the love of Jesus.
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