Monday, June 15, 2009

Women, Resurrection, and Faith

   “Women received their dead raised to life again…” (Hebrews 11:35a)

         In the great chapter of faith, Hebrews eleven, you will find two women named: Sara, the wife of Abraham, and the harlot of Jericho, Rahab. But of even greater significance to me are these words found in verse thirty-five, because in them, God was careful to tell us it was women who had their dead “raised to life again.” Why did He do this, I wonder?

         I will say that of the seven times this phenomenon takes place, three involve grieving mothers (1 Kings 17; 2 Kings 4; Luke 7); another is the brother of two grieving sisters (Mary and Martha); the fifth is the raising of a woman herself (Dorcas in Acts 9); while only two requests come from fathers (Abraham and Jairus). Clearly, there is a connection between women and resurrection (Mark 16:1). Beyond this, we are forced to conjecture as to why it is. I find a clue in one of the mentioned instances.

         In 2 Kings four, where we find the story of the Shunammite woman whose son had died while working in the field, we can reasonably surmise that her husband had reconciled himself to the death; because when his wife asked for permission to take their dead son to the man of God (Elijah), he was baffled  (vv. 22-23). There was no hope. But this mother was like Father Abraham, of whom it was said that he, “against hope believed in hope” (Rom. 4:18). She met hopelessness head on with the shield of faith, and, as you know, was rewarded by seeing her son raised to newness of life.

         When it comes to impossible circumstances, like restoring life to hopeless humanity, it would seem to me that the Bible and history bear this out: God rewards faith; and He especially delights in seeing it played out in the lives of those of those whose only weapon of coercion is the prayer of faith. And Biblically speaking—by a ratio of five to two—it is women of faith who receive their dead raised to life again.

         God, who gives life, is pleased to give to her who brings forth life, the faith to see it restored.

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