I am again grateful to have my dear friend Nancy Wilson on the blog. Today she brings to us, older women, much needed words of encouragement. I trust that this good charge will yield good fruit in our lives.
Fearful or Faithful
by Nancy Wilson
During these troublesome days, we should consider how we can best turn a profit on our time in our homes while we wait for life to return to normal. Remember the ultimate purpose of trials in the Christian’s life is to bring glory to God by stewarding the trial with faith and obedience. Trials reveal how we are doing. Is your faith strong or weak? Are you fearful or faithful? Is your faith suffering from its own coronavirus? Has it gotten a little sickly? Or are you standing firm, undaunted and joyful in these trying circumstances? Would your husband describe you as fearful or faithful? Do you shrink back in fear or do you trust God and trust your husband to lead you through uncertain times?
Older women can either drift into fearfulness or they can grow into more and more faithfulness. We have the tendency of excusing fearfulness (in ourselves or in other older women) because of age or situation or health conditions. But our faith is not based on our own resources, situation, or condition. Our faith is based on the unchanging character of our Maker.
We all know that as we age, we grow physically weaker. We gradually get flabby and weak. There were those decades where we could coast on our youthful stamina and strength, but those days are behind us. No more coasting.
But there is another kind of weakness which can commonly come with age, another kind of flabbiness as we grow old, and that is spiritual flabbiness. If we are not being pressed to apply the Scriptures to our lives, if we are not being diligent to be obedient Christians, our faith and our obedience weaken. Much like our beauty, our zeal fades. We can indulge in a little cowardice or give our husbands less respect and sloppy obedience. If life gets too cushy, too comfortable, too easy, we become squishy soft. We can coast. We can spend too much time tracking our physical ailments and miss the signs of an ailing faith. This softness leads to fearfulness, and fearfulness leads to anxiety, and anxiety leads to faithlessness and compromise. A soft fearful faith is a hard heart. So God sends us some trials to wake us up and strengthen our walk with Him.
“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). There is no reason for us to allow our spirits to decay like our bodies do! Paul says we are being renewed every day, so there is no sense in losing heart, even if our bodies are falling apart. The important thing is that our faith can grow and flourish, even in our old age.
In Romans 5:3-4 has the encouragement we need. “But we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.“ When a trial comes, we must choose to glory in it. We must choose to rejoice in the opportunity God is giving us to trust Him. We know it is from His hand, no matter who brought it to us. And as we do this, God blesses us with the fruit of patience. We learn to endure trouble. And that gives us something money can’t buy: character. And with character comes hope. Verse 5 says, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy spirit who was given to us.”
All our troubles and trials are working on our behalf because God is behind it all, pouring out His love into our hearts and causing us to become women of faith. We must cooperate with what He is doing, and we must have an eager expectation of how He is going to use it all to His glory in our lives. Our husbands should be able to call us faithful women. They should be able to benefit firsthand from our cheerful obedience to God’s Word.
“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely doth trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (Prov. 31:10-12).
A note in my Geneva Study Bible says a virtuous wife is literally a wife of valor. Are you a wife of valor, willing to face danger with courage? A virtuous wife does not shrink back in fear. She goes forward by faith, not trusting in her own resources, but trusting the Lord. We may be physically weak, we may feel very weak, but in Christ we are strong. We should pray that God will increase our strength and increase our faith.
This is the kind of older women the church needs. Think of how our children and grandchildren will benefit if we are women of valor! So let’s determine to pray for boldness and wisdom. Let’s demonstrate faithful and cheerful obedience to God. Pandemic or not, let’s lift our voices and sing hymns.