Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 1 Thessalonians 2:7b-8
Dear Corrie ten Boom, a close friend of Brother Andrew’s in Holland, was well-known for her statement: “When God has a task to be done, he calls a man. When He has a DIFFICULT task to be done, he calls a woman!”
Motherhood is often one of those difficult tasks for women. I can remember how difficult it was for my own mother in the 1950’s to raise a family with four active, hungry boys on a total budget of twenty-five dollars a week. Yet she was such an example to us of sacrifice, commitment, and faithfulness. We knew she would give everything she had for us and our father.
The Apostle Paul reminded the Thessalonian church that the apostles could have become a burden to them but instead they treated the new growing church gently, like a mother caring for her little children, willing to give everything—even their lives.
Today mothers in the persecuted church continue to reflect the example of Jesus in sacrifice, commitment and faithfulness. I think of the wife of Santiago, a dynamic church pastor in one of Colombia’s deeply troubled areas. Santiago’s life is threatened because has an intense love for God’s people, and a deeply ingrained sense of justice. His strength comes from the Lord. But his second source of strength is his wife, Deborah, who stands by him no matter what.
Recently, she opened up her heart to a small group of visitors. “I feel a profound emptiness and fear that can only be mitigated by the Lord. Although many people claim that the war here has dwindled, I cannot agree because I still see what the people here go through. Just yesterday four people were murdered in our town, two of them very close to our church.”
At that point, the tears flooding Deborah’s eyes reveal one of the deepest fears of her heart. “I beg my Lord not to take Santiago away from us, as it would be an extremely painful blow. I remember having the doors locked, believing that at any moment they would come looking for Santiago to kill him. Every time he left for church, my children also waited for someone to arrive bearing the horrible news that he had been murdered. The children beg him, ‘Daddy, please quit the church. We know that people in the area are speaking badly of you, and you know that several other pastors have been murdered.’”
Deborah continues, “God changed our plans to leave. It is not His will that we run away, and our brothers and sisters would not allow us to do so either.” Then she pleads, “I request your prayers for the Lord to heal the wounds of my heart, to remove the fear, so that I can continue fighting. But, more importantly, that I will know how to pray according to His will.” Deborah’s deep devotion to her husband and children is obvious. She is also their tower of strength.
RESPONSE: Today I will honour mother and encourage other mothers I see struggling with life’s issues.
PRAYER: Father, bless Deborah today—and others like her—with courage, strength and faithfulness.