“I think I hate God,” the sixteen year old admitted, her body language expressing her shame at divulging such an un-Christian thought. “Why?” I asked. “Well, I’ve been reading the Bible – the places about women – and all of them serve God by having babies. It’s like that is all women are good for in the Bible. And I can’t have kids because of those chemo treatments I had when I was nine. So, in God’s eyes I must be worthless because I can’t have kids. And I know I am not worthless, but the Bible says that I am….so I hate God!” She ended her explanation in tears.
My heart went out to this sixteen-year-old girl who so desperately wanted to please God, but had completely misunderstood Scripture. I grabbed a box of tissues and we sat down at the table in front of an open Bible.
“First, you are right that the Bible is full of examples of God using motherhood to advance His Kingdom.”
During the Old Testament, God was building his people, the people of Israel. Nations are built by godly men and women bearing and raising up children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. “Old Testament women were not only wombs, to be used and discarded like test tubes where eggs have been fertilized. God sees the hearts of women, just as He judges the hearts of men. But women were called to obedience as women. Women have wombs and are called to put them to service of the Creator, should He bless them with children.”* The reality of the Old Testament was that women played a vital role in that stage of Biblical history. At that time, God was preparing the way for the Savior to come to earth. “The Old Testament women fight ferociously for their right to bear and rear children. They place themselves in danger to protect the lives of those children. By such courageous determination, they often rescue the seed from extinction, paving the way for the Messiah.”*
Motherhood is a unique gift that God gave only to women. He gave other gifts to men, but only women have the privilege to carry and bond with their child, in such an intimate way, nine months before it is born. Many women do not value this gift, but their negative opinion of motherhood does not negate the fact that God blessed only women with the ability to bear those children.
“Second, God used faithful women throughout the Old Testament to advance His purposes.”
Moses led the people out of Egypt, Aaron spoke the words of God and Miriam led the women in worshiping and praising the One True God who rescued them. Each of these three siblings had a vital role in leading the people of Israel out of Egypt and forming a group of slaves into the nation of Israel. Exodus 16.
Abraham was responsible for leading his family to the Promised Land, barren Sarah bore the promised son who fathered many nations. She had the baby that started a Nation. Her son Isaac was the father of Israel, the grandfather of the twelve tribes of Israel, an ancestor of Jesus Christ the Savior of the World. “And God said. . . . I will bless [Sarah], and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” Genesis 17:15-16.Sarah was awarded this honor not because of her breeding potential, but in recognition of her faith in Yahweh God. “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.” Hebrews 11:11.
Ruth left home and family to seek the people of God, so that she could know the One True God. A pagan woman who sought after Yahweh God was rewarded with a rich, loving husband who redeemed her from poverty, a son who became the grandfather of David and a book of the Bible recording her faithfulness and one of the most beautiful love stories in Scripture. Ruth 1-4.
Deborah, a prophetess of God, a woman not known for having children, served as the hand of God prompting Barak to free the Israelites from bondage. Her faithfulness led to the rescue of the nation of Israel from bondage to a pagan king. Her God-fearing actions resulted in forty years of peace for Israel. Judges 4.
Esther, a beautiful young virgin given to an evil pagan king, trusted God enough to risk her life to save His people. Her faithfulness in the face of death brought her many blessings: her life was spared, the lives of her Israelite people were spared, the Jewish feast of Purim was established honoring God’s work through Esther, and lastly she was given an entire book of the Bible honoring her faithfulness. Esther 1-10.
Each of these women played a vital role in God’s kingdom purpose. God could have used miracles instead of women, but He didn’t. He created both men and women in His image and chooses to use both genders to advance His Kingdom.
“Third, God hand-picked a woman to bear The Baby that changed the world.”
Mary was a simple girl who found favor in the eyes of God. Her pure faith in Yahweh God allowed God to use her to give birth to and raise the Savior of the world. She is lauded as the most blessed woman in history. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1-3.
God’s use of women to advance His kingdom did not end with Jesus. The first to see Jesus resurrected was the woman Mary Magdalene. Dorcas served the poor and needy with her artistic skills. Mother Lois and Grandmother Eunice raised the godly young leader Timothy who grew to be a leader in the Early Church. Phoebe opened her home to host the church. Lydia was a talented business woman, one of the first Christian converts in Thyatira. Priscilla joined with her husband in welcoming the Apostle Paul and assisted him in planting the church of Corinth.
“So, can God use you to advance His kingdom? Yes!”
For some women that will primarily be through motherhood, for some it will happen by teaching the Bible to women, for some it will be through serving the church, and yet others will be used of God by helping the weak.
The question is not ‘Can God use my life?’ The question is ‘Am I living a faithful life that God can use?’
*Quote from Does Christianity Squash Women by Rebecca Jones, pg. 68-69.