About a year ago, I was asked to speak at a women’s conference. The topic, “My Favorite Woman In The Bible.” I initially thought, EASY PEASY! I mean, come on! The Bible is full of incredible women and their amazing stories!
Eve, Hagar, Sarah, Esther, Ruth, Abigail, Mary, Delilah, Bathsheba, Miriam, Rachael, Rebekah, Jehosheba, Athaliah, Martha, another Mary, Hannah, Elizabeth, and another Mary, and Anna.
They were wives and mothers, queens and servants, leaders and followers, heroines and villains, righteous and unrighteous. They are the names we give our daughters in hopes that they too may be as valuable and as used by God someday. Good and bad, these women are examples of deep faith, deep hope, deep strength, and in some cases deep pain and regret. They have a common bond in that their stories were so incredible that they became timeless, forever known in stories and tributes.
What they aren’t is nameless. And for that reason, I actually have a hard time relating to them.
Because I don’t see myself as anything remotely significant or special.
I am just a mom.
I am just a wife.
I am just a daughter, a friend, another face in a sea of faces.
I am just me.
I’ve never birthed a nation. Well maybe almost….I’ve never attracted the attention of a king. I’ve never had to deal with the heartache of infertility or raise a child in my old age. I’ve never saved my people, let alone one person. And I’ve never watched my son suffer and die for all mankind.
I’m just, well, average.
So, I actually have a hard time seeing myself like these women, women called and used so profoundly by God.
But luckily our Father also uses the weak, the seemingly insignificant, the unimportant to write His story.
And for that reason there’s another group of women in the Bible. Their stories are also full of joy and sorrow, relief and pain, trial and triumph. Their stories, too, have been passed down through the centuries and are just as timeless as the women mentioned before. But there’s one little detail that God left out when giving them this immortality……
We don’t know their names.
They are simply revealed to us by their circumstances, their pasts, their labels, and their brokenness. In many cases, these nameless women were looked down on by the world. They were unwanted, left with little hope in a society that devalued, dehumanized, and destroyed them, physically, mentally, and emotionally. To everyone else these women were nothing. They were worthless and insignificant.
Today we call them “The Outcast”, “The Prostitute”, “The Widow”, “The Poor”, “The Crippled”, “The Bleeding”. All nameless. All broken.
But God had a purpose for even them.
And the most beautiful thing about these women’s stories isn’t that they did or didn’t do anything incredible. Their stories aren’t important because they were used by God in some significant way.
No, instead, their stories are so beautiful, and I’d argue even more important than some of the stories of the named women of the Bible, because their stories point us to Christ and His grace and His mercy.
When Jesus began His ministry He was met by multitudes of people with needs…..healing, deliverance, provision, and freedom. And He met them all with power and with compassion. Sometimes His miracles came to the multitude, like when He multiplied the loaves of bread and fish to feed the 5000. Sometimes it was to a group, like when He changed the water to wine or calmed the storm on the sea. Sometimes it was to close friends, loved ones, that Jesus did life with, like Mary and Martha and Lazarus. And sometimes it was to important people, people of stature and title, like the centurion and Nicodemus.
But most often, Jesus met the need of ONE.
One face in a sea of faces. One insignificant person lost in the crowd of significant people, important people, much needier people.
God saw them. And through His grace, He gave them an up close, personal, intimate encounter with His Son. An encounter that would heal their brokenness, set them free, and change their lives forever.
That is our nameless women.
Hurting, grieving, in need of healing and peace. He saw them. To Jesus these nameless women were valuable, someone worthy of compassion, grace and mercy. He loved them. He knew them. And when everyone else turned from them, Jesus turned to them, touched them and gave them a new identity in Him.
And that, sisters, is me.
I am broken.
I am unworthy.
I am in need of grace, daily.
But Jesus sees me, pursues me, and calls me His.
And now I am now longer nameless.
I am a daughter of the King, redeemed, healed, and loved.
SISTER TO SISTER:
We all feel nameless at times, probably more often than we’d like to admit. But we don’t have to stay nameless. The Creator of the World, El Roi, the God who sees is pursuing us, relentlessly, to bring us a new identity and a new name. He is inviting you even now to a relationship with Him, through the redemption and grace bought by Christ at the cross. It is His free gift. He longs to call you daughter.
Father, I cannot and will never be able to comprehend just how much You love me. Thank you for Your love, Your grace, and Your mercy. Open the eyes to my heart that I might know You and the love to which you call me. I ask, Father, that I may be rooted in Your love, that I may know how wide, long, high, and deep Your love is for me. Fill me with Your Truth!
Before we really begin this devotional, I’d like to invite you to take time to reflect on who God is. In quiet prayer and reflection, spends some time reading and writing down all the names and ways of God. Think of how He has carried you, how He has been faithful on the mountains and in the valleys. I recommend spending some time reading through the Psalms, especially Psalm 19, Psalm 27, Psalm 66, Psalm 86, Psalm 96, Psalm 97, Psalm 104, Psalm 119, and Psalm 136. On a piece of paper, draw a circle. Inside the circle write, BECAUSE HE IS. As you are reminded through reflection, prayer, and studying His Word who He is, write down all the names and ways God is so good. Because He is truly our good, good Father.