Chaotic: (adjective) – completely confused or disordered….
Synonyms include picturesque words such as: disorganized, helter-skelter, lawless, tumultuous, turbulent, riotous, topsy-turvy and uncontrolled.
It takes no imagination, our world is chaotic. Tune into a global news source and we are evidenced immediately with the reality – the entire world is angry, confused, in disorder…turbulence abounds. Change the channel (or browser) to any current sitcom, and come face to face with the reality that we are in a state of moral, ethical and relational bankruptcy. The plague of sexual dysfunction & brokenness is available on our phones 24 x 7. Random messages parading vulgarity can appear during an otherwise harmless web research process. What was once so shameful that it was only viewed (or participated in) behind closed doors or within the hidden files of a personal computer, is now available and acceptable in the public arena. Our world is now topsy-turvy, helter-skelter – and yes…lawless, so very lawless.
I grieve, I cringe – and I grieve more over the chaotic world we now own. As I am preparing an upcoming teaching session on this same topic, I find myself wrangling through thoughts and driven to sorrowful prayer. Lamenting. The persistent question on my mind is “how do we, as women, live courageously in our chaotic world?” I want to have the tools firmly and clearly in place to navigate through this muddle with spiritual productivity and the highest Gospel impact possible. I truly believe that His light can shine the brightest in the darkest of places, and I want that – in my life, in the lives of my daughters & granddaughters… and in the lives of the women I am discipling.
In recent months I have revisited stories of courageous women found in the sacred scripture. There are many, and each one displays unique characteristics. Each one also leaves enough blank space in their story to allow for a bit of angst in my information-driven heart – but that too is by design, for I am convinced that God desires for us find ourselves in the story, and more importantly, He desires we find Him.
Here are just a few simple observations I have jotted onto my scribble pad:
Courageous Women must:
Nurture our love relationship with Jesus.
Luke 7 gives the account of a nameless women who abandoned all protocol and fell at the feet of our Jesus in worship. It is recorded in verse 37 “and she was a sinner”. My sorrowful response to Mark’s description is “me too courageous woman, me too”. This story arrives on the heels of Dr. Luke’s account of the miraculous activity of Jesus among very broken people. “the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the Gospel preached to them.” (Luke 7:22) We each are represented in that list – blind, lame, diseased, deaf…and spiritually dead. In an instant, He is able to change it all. There is nothing like a fresh reminder of His mercy poured out on my own filthy heart to spur me on in extending grace to our broken world. As His followers, we cannot allow our heart or mind to drift from our pre-Christ condition – if we do, we risk becoming cynical and useless in His Kingdom purpose. We must “love Him much”….He still speaks “go in peace” over courageous women today.
Know His voice and cling to His Word.
Folded into the book of Judges we find the singular story of Judge Deborah, a woman who dared to speak Truth against a culture of spiritual drift. Though we know very little about the life of Deborah, she has left a rich legacy. It is recorded that she “sat” or “dwelt” (daily positioned herself) between Ramah and Bethel, to listen. She heard a hard word from God, spoke words of deliverance for Israel’s self-induced bondage, then blazed the trail on the path God had directed. Deborah’s spiritual courage spurred courage in others. Courageous women are honest women, we know that our words are worthless, but His words are life everlasting.
Bring our desperation to Him
The story of a Sryophoenician woman found in Matthew 15 and Mark 7 gives a brief but stirring account of desperation delivered to the feet of Jesus. A woman with weighty matters of the heart, and nowhere else to go. Another courageous woman defying protocol, rejecting the scorn of the pious – and seeking the One who spoke the world into place to bring the answer to her need. What a vivid demonstration of desperate trust. Her face was to the ground. Her back was to the world. Her tears were layed in His holy presence. Christ never put anyone away from Him who fell at His feet…He never does…He never will. It is a crazy tension between courage and humility – the humility to bend the knee….the courage to fall and stay down in utter trust of His power and plan.
Freely release our all
The Gospel of Mark gives us a very brief story of Jesus observation of a humble widow who dropped all she had into the temple offering – because she loved and believed. Her act of generosity stirred the heart of our Messiah because it represented complete trust in His sovereign care. The same Christ who noticed her action and had been part of her creative process in her own mothers womb (Psalm 139), also encompassed her about, before and behind (Psalm ). He was and is more than adequate to trust our own “all” with – He deserves nothing less.
Be where He is
Throughout the life of Christ a band of courageous women, some named and others unnamed followed…and served. They followed Him through the high points of His ministry, but we also find them at the Cross…and the tomb. They were the deliverers of “He Is Risen” to traumatized disciples, they experienced the upper room, heard His final words “Go and Tell”…and witnessed His ascension. Relentless women – regardless of the climate of the crowd…they were where He was.
Desperate times demand spiritually courageous women.
Courage is a choice