Have you imagined the ways that your faith might be different without the impact of women along the way? I’ve had many thoughts along these lines recently. It’s true that I owe a lot of my formal training to male authors, professors, and pastors. However, much of what has been taught to me in informal ways that most impresses on me the character of Christ has come from the women throughout the global Church, in my community, and in my home.
It’s these women who have been used by God to check some of my pride – something that can do incredible damage in the hands of spiritual leaders. These women have trained me in empathy which has drastically altered the way I experience other people’s pain in this world. These women have helped me to grasp the depth of nurturing that will be necessary for me to practice as a shepherd in the Church. These women have impressed upon me the beauty of vulnerability and how much God loves to see humble transparency accompany His Gospel.
I know from the Scriptures how much God loves to utilize women to accomplish so many of His works. Let’s look at some examples to see Him in action through them all, even during some difficult eras in human history for women and their ministries to be accepted.
- Mary, who gambled an incredible amount to give birth to the Messiah during a time when her life could have been ruined and she could have become an outcast in her community (Matthew 1:18-25).
- Eve, who mirrors the Holy Spirit as the helper that elevated Adam (Genesis 2:18).
- Ruth, whose faith in God welcomed her into His chosen people, foreshadowing all of our acceptance as Gentiles (Ruth 1:16-17, 4:17).
- Mary Magdalene, who had the honor of sharing the Good News of Christ’s resurrection for the very first time (John 20:11-18).
- Rachel, whose patience in the midst of her father’s deception brought her finally to marrying Jacob and eventually mothering Joseph and Benjamin (Genesis 29).
- Hannah, whose faithfulness in dedicating Samuel’s life had her choosing God over her own desires (1 Samuel 2:1-36).
- Queen Esther, whose courage saved the king’s life, as well as her people (Esther 4:16).
- Young Miriam, whose bravery ensured her family would stay together while her baby brother was raised to eventually bring the nation through the Exodus (Exodus 2:1-10).
- Sarah, who mothered Isaac in her very old age, allowing God’s people to establish (Hebrews 11:11).
- Elizabeth, who also mothered a child in her old age that would prepare the way for the Messiah (Luke 1:5-57).
- Priscilla, who partnered with her husband, Aquila, as they ministered powerfully and generously to those in need in the early church (Acts 18:26).
- Mary of Bethany, whose decision to “choose the better” ignored the distractions of housework and entertainment so that she might enjoy the presence of Jesus (Luke 10:38-42).
- Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, whose bravery saved both her infant nephew, the prince Joash, and the line of David from massacre (2 Kings 11:2).
- Rahab, who left her checkered past to become a faithful servant of God who put her life at risk to save Israelite soldiers (Hebrews 11:31).
- Bathsheba, who lost her husband to the king’s lust but honored God with her life and gave birth to Solomon (2 Samuel 11:1-27).
- Not to mention the parable of Jesus that illustrated elements of the kingdom and the work of God through a woman (Luke 15:8-10).
This is by no means an exhaustive list of examples, and yet it gives such a rich presence in the Scripture of God’s activity behind the qualities and works of so many women. They were recorded in God’s Word which will never pass away, so we have eternal memorials to the character of God through their strength, faithfulness, wisdom, courage, resilience, passion, patience, faith, and responsiveness to God.
Ladies – God is a great God who works miracles in our world and in the lives of those within our community. That God has chosen to accomplish so much of His work through you. We are thankful for you. You are a gift to our Christian community and the Church is so much better off for all the ways that you direct our gaze to Him. Thank you for standing firm in such a long line of women throughout the history of God’s people and I’m thrilled to be able to continue witnessing how our congregation and community are shaped through your examples.
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff