10 years. My period of stubborn resistance and denial. I had a long list of “I don’t want to” demands for God, too.
I didn’t want to be poor, like the widow who came to the temple and had only two small coins to put in the offering.
I didn’t want to be hidden away, like Anna who lived in the temple and never left there.
I didn’t want to be hounded by my past, like the widow who came to Elisha and asked him to save her from a creditor.
I didn’t want to be needy, like the widow who repeatedly asked the judge for justice until he finally gave in to her request.
I didn’t want to be fearful, like the widow of Zarephath who didn’t have enough food for her and her son to eat.
I didn’t want to be single again, like Abigail, Nabal’s widow.
I didn’t want to work at a terrible job and take care of other people, like Ruth.
That’s how I viewed being a widow. And how I had viewed other widows. That viewpoint robbed me of a closer relationship with my Mom after my Dad passed away. I had so little compassion for her. I could have done a much better job of loving and caring for her.
After my husband passed away in 2002, I didn’t want to be a widow. I didn’t want to be called a widow. I rarely told anyone I was a widow. That was not who I was.
God must have been chuckling as he revealed his plan to me in 2012. He actually wanted me to reach out to the other widows in my church! He even provided me with a list of their names and contact information. There were 45 of us at the time.
As I got to know these women, love them, care for them, I began to see the kind of widow God wanted me to be. Through my widowed sisters in Christ, I learned compassion, patience, and strength. Through the truth of God’s Word, I learned how to be more than a widow. And I’m still learning!
I’m learning to be faithful in giving. No matter how much or how little I have in my bank account, one-tenth belongs to God. Just like the widow at the temple offering box, I faithfully give from what I have.
I’m learning to put my work for God first. I may not live in a temple like Anna did, but the work he gives me to do is my top priority. Writing, leading Bible studies, praying with and for others, studying God’s Word, caring for those who are grieving. Just like Anna, I’m devoted to serving him.
I’m learning to trust God. When fear comes knocking, I let God answer the door. Even when what I have cannot possibly be enough in the eyes of the world, he always makes it enough and more. Just like the widow of Zarephath, I keep trusting in God’s provision.
I’m learning that God is my everything. I welcome whatever or whoever he wants to add to my life. But I don’t have to stress about what’s going to happen to me, like Abigail did. My complete confidence is in God and his provision.
I’m learning that whatever work I do, I do for God. He has asked me to care for some of his children, and I have done that. He has asked me to work at some unglamorous and difficult jobs, and I have done that. I have seen many blessings flow from each of those assignments. And I know there are more to come. Like he did for Ruth, God fills my life with love and purpose.
So which example will you choose? How a person’s life looks on the surface or how God is working out the details underneath? Your choice.