By Elizabeth Prata
Yesterday I wrote about what the Bible calls weak women, though the world insists these are in fact strong ladies. They are not. Tune in or read here to see what is really a weak woman in God’s economy.
To summarize: weak women are the ones described in 2 Timothy 3:6, women made weak by their sin and vulnerable to false teachers or false doctrine, led away by their various lusts. When women fall for false teaching, whole households are upset. (Titus 1:11). Weak women are the ones who preach, because women preaching or pastoring in a church is a sin. Strong women kill their sin. Weak women indulge it. They then play the victim.
These women, you notice, focus on their wounds, their offenses, their hurts. They are dissatisfied with their life experiences, and use that as a platform for their ministry. They focus on their gender, and what they can’t have because of their gender, setting aside that God knows best. Jen Wilkin, Beth Moore, Aimee Byrd, Rachel Green Miller, women like that, who preach and teach men, are weakly cooing doves instead of victorious women busy mortifying their sin and exulting in the work Jesus gave them to do for His name.
Who is a strong woman?
Strong women are applauded in the Bible. These women are not strong because they bucked the denominational system and broke their church’s glass ceiling, elbowing the men aside in order to preach or teach. No, these women are strong because they dwell inside the strength of Jesus, content to work for His name in HIS strength and within thes phere He gave them.
Proverbs 31:17, She girds herself with strength And makes her arms strong.
Proverbs 31:25: Strength and majesty are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.
Gill’s on Proverbs 31:25, “Strength, not of body, but of mind. … for though she is the weaker vessel, and weak in herself, yet is strong in him; and is able to bear and do all things, with a fortitude of mind to withstand every enemy, and persevere in well doing“
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Power? What power is this we are given? Barnes’ Notes: But of power – Power to encounter foes and dangers; power to bear up under trials; power to triumph in persecutions. That is, it is the nature of the gospel to inspire the mind with holy courage
So let’s take a look at some of these women who labor for her Lord without complaint. They don’t nurture wounds and complain. They get on with things, setting aside their sin and circumstances, to focus totally on Jesus and the work He has set before them.
Who is a strong, wise, faithful, courageous woman in the Bible?
The Proverbs 31 Woman
This woman is strong. She’s strong because she is strong in the Lord. She remains faithful to her sphere, which is the home. Everything she does is at the home or for the home. She is wise, industrious, hard working and above all, gentle and kind. She has earned the respect of her husband and her family (Proverbs 31:28-29), and also her community on earth and beyond (Proverbs 31:31). She is strong because she fears the LORD. (Proverbs 31:30).
ANNA. She is mentioned in Luke 2:36-38.
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She did not leave the temple grounds, serving night and day with fasts and prayers. And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak about Him to all those who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
Anna saw her widowhood as an opportunity. She chose to dedicate her unexpected and likely unwanted sudden singlehood to the LORD. Despite that era being of high apostasy in the people, and religious hypocrisy in the leaders, Anna retained a strong faith. She overcame her dire circumstances (as widowhood was in those days), trusting totally in the Lord. She proclaimed Him constantly, and taught the women around her faithfully.
Susan Heck is doing the same in these days. She is a modern Anna.
In Palestine during Bible times, a woman who bleeds is considered unclean. She must separate from all people,, for anything she touches is then considered unclean. She was in a precarious position- separated for 12 years, likely prime childbearing years…either she had a husband and children and could not be with them, (sad!) or she was seeing her potential for marriage and kids dwindle away. (also sad!). She was also broke- she spent all her money on doctors and nothing helped. In fact, her bleeding got worse.
Yet she was faithful in waiting for her Messiah. She had heard of Jesus and followed him in the crowds that day. Not even wanting to confront him face to face, she thought, ‘If I just touch the hem of his garment, I will be healed”. And she was.
Jesus told her that her faith had made her well. He tenderly called her “Daughter”, something no other woman was called in the New testament by Jesus.
She hadn’t given up despite her infirmity, and despite the fact that doctors had let her down and she might have even felt seemingly God had let her down. She didn’t complain, but had faith to pursue her Messiah, and humility to just touch His hem. She was strong.
In modern days, Helen Howarth Lemmel was born in 1863. She showed a talent for music and singing and her parents had means to nurture this talent. In her adulthood, Helen toured with Gospel musicians, then became a vocal music teacher at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. She married a wealthy European, but then Helen’s charmed life took a tragic turn. She became afflicted with blindness. And, her husband abandoned her as a result.
It is here that Helen’s strength in the Lord showed through.
Retiring from Moody she settled in Seattle. She then became a hymnologist, writing over 400 hymns. She was full of life and hope and love for the Lord, and this reflected in her music. If you ever sing, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth shall grow strangely dim, In the light of his glory and grace”, that was Helen’s lyric. Far from settling into maudlin moaning about abuse or not being acknowledged in a car (as Beth Moore wrote), Helen surmounted her circumstances in His strength, and wrote hymn after hymn extolling her savior Jesus. She died in 1961, just before her 98th birthday. Her earthly life might not have turned out the way she had wanted, but she pivoted and praised the Lord as long as she had voice.
Joni Eareckson Tada is infirm, in a wheelchair and battling bouts of recurring cancer, but uncomplaining and praising her Lord with all her strength and soul. So was DebbieLynne Kespert, who is in glory now, but persevered through her severe infirmities to praise the Lord constantly. She was strong in the Lord. They were not victims of their disease nor victims of their life circumstances. They are/were strong women in the Lord.
Marie Durand: Arrested in 1730 (unknown specifically why, but for a religious reason) and placed in the Tower of Constance, Marie Durand stayed jailed for 38 years. Every day the jailers came in to her cell and asked her to abjure (renounce her faith) and every day she said NO. She scratched RESISTER on the stone wall of her cell with her knitting needles. Marie ministered to other ladies in jail, helping them write letters home, and encouraging them in the faith. Marie was eventually released in 1776, and given a 200 livre pension- which she shared with a neighbor. She resisted claiming victimhood, resisted caving in to another Gospel, resisted complaining about her surroundings. She stayed strong in the Lord to the end.
There are so many women who are Godly-strong in the Lord. Mary mother of Jesus, Phoebe, Dorcas…Gladys Aylward, Corrie ten Boom, Elisabeth Elliot. And Erin Coates.
In the winter of 2021 when the alleged “pandemic” hit in Canada, churches were ordered to enforce masking procedures and place attendance limits. Pastor James Coates refused and was jailed for 35 days. The church was fenced by police and locked. Members of GraceLife church simply met in another, secret location.
Meanwhile James’ wife Erin, became The Persistent Widow. (Luke 18:1-8). She stood on a truck bed outside the jail, and with a megaphone, spoke of Jesus, urged people to open their churches, and advocated for the Gospel.
It was a tense time. Nobody knew how the tyrants would react- would they jail her too? Would they fine her for lots of money? How would the news outlets portray her? None of that mattered. Erin Coates stood on that truck bed with a megaphone calling for justice. Calling for people to know her Savior. She wanted the Gospel to go out in open churches. She was no victim, no wounded bird moaning about being oppressed or belittled. She was a lioness, strong in the Lord.
Take heart, sister. We are already strong in the Lord. We have His indwelling Spirit, His pwoer, His Bible. We have the mechanism of prayer, honed discernment, and an eagerly awaited place in heaven at the Banquet. Our strength comes from Jesus, and our efforts in His strength for His name.
None of the women mentioned in this essay woke up one day thinking they would be mentioned in the annals of the Bible or Church History. They simply took one step at a time, obeying His commands and working within their sphere, doing the next thing.
A strong women in the Lord kills her sin, is diligent in her spiritual disciplines, and stays in her lane. Jesus gave us everything in totality, because He gave us Himself.
Republished with permission from Blogs.crossmap.com, featuring inspiring Bible verses about How does the Bible describe Weak Women? Strong Women? Part 2.