Read His Words Before Ours!
When I consider the transformation we, the people of my village, have undergone, I find reason to thank God again and again. We, who once walked in the futility of our minds, having our understanding darkened, ignorant and separated from God, have received the mercy of God. Indeed, we’ve seen God’s great love toward us. He called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. Once we were not a people, but He has made us a people in Christ; a people belonging to Him. Hallelujah! (paraphrase, Ephesians 4:17-18)
Surely, God’s love is not selective, conditional, or judgemental; if it was, who would have chosen and called us to follow Christ? Like His own disciples, we have been called irrespective of our backgrounds; like His own disciples, when confronted with His love, we are also confronted with the depths of our own sinful disqualification. When Peter experienced Christ’s overwhelming love, he exclaimed, “Go away from me, because I am a sinful man, Lord!” (Luke 5:8) Yet His call, and His love, remain undaunted.
By the grace of God, the gospel of salvation has penetrated all over our village, and many people are following Jesus Christ. A typical Sunday morning sees villagers of all ages rushing to various worship centres.
Women are at the forefront of God’s move in my community, following in the footsteps of Mary of Magdalene and other heroines of faith in Scripture. Their incredible zeal for the Gospel prompts some to even offer their “widow’s mite,” trusting tomorrow’s provision to God alone.
But there are some cultural issues frustrating the Christian journey among our people, and women are significantly affected. As with most Africans, witchcraft is a monster ravaging our people; every misfortune is attributed to it. Almost every death of a person below 70 years is attributed to witchcraft; likewise, any lingering or chronic illness. Most devastatingly, women and children are most often accused of being witches or secret cult members.
Additionally, many women experience tough times in their marriage as the culture demands a wife owe her in-laws respect and care. Some family members go beyond their boundaries and become a “thorn in the flesh” of the woman. In most cases, the husband is handicapped to protect his wife. Even more challenging to marriages is the issue of childlessness, because marriage without children, to our people, is like an orange tree without fruit.
Poverty also places a significant burden on women, as they are the primary contributors to household income, often through menial work. Drug use adds to the poverty level, as women lose spouses, followed by homes and belongings.
However, amidst those challenges, some women are forging ahead in following Christ. These courageous sisters do not allow hardship to determine their spiritual standing; they are making a lifetime of sacrifices for the sake of Jesus. They daily live out the words of Jesus: “If anyone wants to follow after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
Surely, following Jesus Christ requires self-denial, and we must not allow hardship or any inconvenience to deter us. We must be willing to sacrifice everything standing between us and Him. It is well-understood that challenges create room for our faith to grow, because the more challenges we face, the more we seek refuge in Christ. As the Scripture says, “Consider it great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (James 1:2-3)
Unfortunately, when tough times come, some turn their backs on Him, like the seed that fell on stony places. On Sundays, they rush to church for worship, but in ignorance, turn to others beside Jesus in their suffering. To worsen their situation, they usually fall into the hands of fake pastors, who exploit the women’s pain for monetary gain.
As someone who is passionate for the gospel, my heart bleeds when I hear the perils my fellow countrywomen pass through. The biggest need I see is for a deep knowledge of God’s Word, which will only happen through sound teaching. My appeal to the global Church is to join me in prayer for God to open doors to enable us organise more teachings, and to add labourers for the work. Pray also that God will create in their hearts a strong desire for His Word, and also bless the work of their hands.
I am thankful to God for the Church in the nations, joined and knitted together in Christ despite physical distance; therefore, we share in the pain and joy of one another. How marvellous and glorious it will be when we see eachother face-to-face at the throne of Jesus!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!