My imagination is pretty active, and there are times when I’d wonder what it would be like to get in a time-machine and travel to a distant land in the past.
Then I’d quickly remember that I’m a woman, and be generally thankful to be living in 2023 rather than oh, I don’t know… even just a few generations ago. Why? Because I’m thankful for the progress that has been made by strong women who have come before me, who fought for us to have more rights in society. I can get an education, a career, a voice – no longer needing to have my identity and fate primarily dependent on the power of my father or husband.
However, as much as I look up to strong women in history who took it upon themselves to fight for more power, I must admit that the female heroes of the past I admire most also derived their strength from the source of another.
The Bible is full of strong female heroines who found their strength not in their fathers, husbands, sons, or even in themselves – but in the God who created them all.
In the book of Judges, we learn of a prophetess of the Lord named Deborah who (at the insistence of Israel’s army commander Barak) went with him and 10,000 men to battle because he was too cowardly to go alone. And later on in that same event, Jael (a woman) ended up being the one to kill Sisera – with a tent peg no less – the general of the enemy army. Then of course we also have the likes of Rahab who went against her own nation to save Joshua’s spies because she believed in his God, and Abigail who risked her life to stop David from committing mass murder while in a fit of rage.
Ruth, Esther, Mary, the list can go on. From prostitutes and widows, to teenagers and queens, the Bible shows us that throughout history, some of the strongest women that made the biggest difference were those who must have looked the weakest in the eyes of many. And yet, “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong… so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Cor 1:27-29).
Where do you find your strength? Do you find it in your own athletic prowess or youthful exuberance? Maybe it’s your beauty and elegance which commands the attention of a room. Or perhaps it’s your wisdom and ability to stay calm under pressure, which gives you an air of confidence over those around you who are scurrying around like headless chickens… Whatever it might be, if it’s not rooted in God, it’s not good enough.
You’ll grow old. Your looks will fade. With the passage of time, that brilliant brain of yours will also see decay one day. So we must ask ourselves the question: Where does your help come from? To quote the Psalmist in chapter 121, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
Next Sunday, the women of St Andrew’s are invited to gather together to be encouraged by what it looks like to anchor ourselves in the strength of our God. Want to join us? Sign up via our “What’s On” page to secure your spot. We’d love to see you there!