This is a tough time for many in the country, me included. My heart and soul grieve deeply the change of both leadership and mood in this country. And part of my sadness comes from the deep divisions found not only in our nation but around our dining room tables as well.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a political preference; I am a Democrat. But I deeply believe that we need both good Republicans and good Democrats around the table, and in Congress. I cheer on both my Republican friends and my Democrat friends. I welcome conversation when it’s respectful and kind. We do better, after all, when we work together (didn’t we all learn this in elementary school?).
What I grieve is the lack of civility and cooperation that does not seem to exist today. But I will not give into sadness or despair. And when I need inspiration, I look to the women of the Bible, who demonstrated extraordinary witness in times worse than ours. I have faith because they had faith. I am stubborn because they were stubborn. I pray because they prayed. I keep hope because they never lost theirs. Consider this:
- Eve rejected Paradise in exchange for freedom and knowledge. (Genesis 3-4)
- Midwives Shiprah and Puah exercised civil disobedience—the first in the Bible to do so–as they stood up to Pharaoh continued safeguarding the health of women and their children. (Exodus 1)
- Rahab, in her scandalous life as a prostitute, found a way to protect God’s people as they crossed into the Promised Land. (Judges 2,6)
- Deborah, the leader of Israel, could see trouble coming from the Philistines and inspired 10,000 men to fight them before her nation was crushed. (Judges 4-5)
- Susannah told the truth about her would-be rapists even though her life was at risk. (Book of Susannah, Apocrypha)
- The bleeding woman would not give in to chronic pain and illness even though others refused to even touch her. (Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48)
- The Syrophoenician woman would not back down when it came to asking Jesus to heal her daughter. (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30)
- The Samaritan woman by the well sparred with Jesus until her questions were answered. (John 4:1-42)
- Mary of Bethany understood the grief in Jesus’ soul and offered healing. (John 12:1-8)
- Mary Magdalene, healed by Jesus from what appears to be mental illness, testified to Jesus’ resurrection at a time when words from women were routinely discarded. (John 20:18)
- Lydia of Philippi, a successful merchant, offered her home to new ministry possibilities. (Acts 16:13-15)
- Dorcas never stopped sewing for poor widows and gathered her friends to do the same. (Acts 9:39)
Grief is acceptable, even appropriate at times. But as the women of the Bible demonstrate so well, inaction and complacency have no place in our lives. May we truly learn the lessons they have to teach us.
Photo by Barbara Dundon