I've probably read this a hundred times, but for whatever reason it especially blessed me this evening.
GOD CARES FOR WEEPING WOMEN
The Son of God came to earth to show us that the Father loves us and is not angry with us. He also lifted women from the low and degrading levels into which society had thrown them. We read in the gospels of many women who came to Him at different times with varying needs. Never once did Jesus ignore their cries. He always had a kind word for weeping women.
We could say that He was always silently asking them this question: Woman, why are you weeping?
Mary Magdalene had undoubtedly wept much in her life. She had once been possessed by seven evil spirits. But Jesus had delivered her - and she never forgot her debt to Him. Her gratitude resulted in a passionate devotion to Jesus. Satan had destroyed her life. Demon after demon had possessed her and she was known in the city as a violent woman a woman to be avoided. But we see in her, a demonstration of how Jesus can raise up those who are in the depths of despair, those deeply entrenched in the gutter of sin, and place them on spiritual thrones. Hallelujah!
Mary and Martha were two others who wept. They were sisters who had opened their home to Jesus. The Lord had often found food and refreshment in their home, and they had always been glad to work tirelessly for their Lord. One day their brother Lazarus fell seriously ill, and they immediately sent an emergency call to Jesus. But John chapter 11 relates how Jesus deliberately delayed His arrival to their house. And they couldnt understand it. Why wasnt He coming? Every delay in the answers to our prayers is also planned by God to give us something better than what we asked for. Finally Lazarus died. Then Jesus arrived. Mary and Martha reacted differently to Him - one complained bitterly but the other kept her bitterness within and was silent. But Jesus understood their sorrow. He sympathized with them and even wept. He forgave their complaints and their bitterness and raised their brother from the dead. They had expected only a healing from Jesus, but He gave them a resurrection, and their weeping was turned into joy. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He can do far more than we ask or think. He weeps with women even today and then wipes away their tears.
We read in the gospels of an unknown woman who had lived with continual bleeding in her body for 12 years. She had gone to one doctor after another and they had fleeced her of all her savings. Her sickness was an embarrassing one, classified as Haemorrhage. She must have been weak and anaemic from all the blood loss. Many a night she had wet her pillow with her tears pleading and asking God to heal her. She had been waiting eagerly for the Messiah to come to deliver Israel from all its sorrows. But for twelve years there had been no answer. Then one day she heard that the Messiah had come and was visiting her town. The crowd was immense that day, thronging around Jesus. But she was determined to get in through that crowd and touch at least Jesus clothes. This weak woman pressed past men, women and children and managed to reach her hand through the crowd and touch just the lower part of His robe with her fingers. And she was healed immediately. Jesus stopped and called her forth and she testified timidly before the crowd. Her testimony has now blessed people in all nations for 2000 years.
You too may be an unknown woman who has shed many tears. You may be suffering from some embarrassing disease. The Lord will not disappoint you. Come to Him. We can touch Him by faith even today. Jesus bore our sicknesses and our diseases and by His stripes we are healed.
In John 4, we read of another needy woman this time a Samaritan - whose life was one of rejection, and who had married and remarried five times. The one she was living with finally was not even her husband. She must have been sick of her life. The Jews despised the Samaritans as an inferior race. Women in Samaria normally went to the village-well in the mornings, to collect their water. But she must have had so many bad experiences in the past, with the other women of that village. They may have despised her, taunted her and shunned her. Shame, rejection and sorrow may have been her constant companions in Samaria. So she now preferred to come to the well at noon, when no-one else would be around. Imagine her surprise then when she found a man there. The Master had deliberately travelled through Samaria to meet her and had stayed back at the well that afternoon to talk to her. He used His thirst as a starting point for the conversation and gradually pointed her to her need for the water of Life. Finally, the Lord used her to bring the entire village to repentance.
What hope Jesus gives for despised women who are shunned by society. You may be downtrodden, ignored and belonging to a despised race, with no-one to fight for your rights. Woman, you dont have to weep any longer. Your Redeemer has come for you.
In Matthew 15:22, we read of a weeping, but persistent Canaanite woman. She was not a part of the chosen race. But God cared for her. Her daughter had been demon-possessed for many years and she did not know where to turn for help. She had heard that a Prophet had come to Israel Who cast out demons. But it was very difficult and perhaps too expensive for her to travel to Israel. Besides she was not an Israelite and she did not know if Jesus would have the time to listen to her or help her. And so she gave up all hope of ever seeing her daughter healed. Little did she know however, how much God loved her and how He had seen her tears: God sent Jesus to her. Jesus walked from Galilee to her hometown and back - 50 miles each way - just to help her. When she met Jesus, she knew that she was an alien and deserved nothing from God. She gladly accepted the position of a dog before the Lord and asked if she might have at least a crumb that fell from the childrens table. She believed that one crumb from the hand of the Lord was enough to drive the demon out of her daughter. What faith!! Jesus granted her request. The daughter was miles away, but she was delivered instantly. The tearful years were replaced with joy and laughter that day.
What an example for you, dear mother, to seek our wonderful Lord. He has seen your tears too, and He knows your need. Your child may be living far away from you. But you can bring her to the feet of our Lord and she can be delivered. The Lord will travel any distance to wipe away your tears and to turn your weeping into laughter. And remember, you are not a dog, but a daughter of God. You can have the childrens bread itself, and not just the crumbs that fall from the table! Go then in faith to the Lord and ask what you will for your daughters and sons, who have been deceived and possessed by Satan. The Lord will deliver every one of them.
A weeping woman caught in adultery was once brought to Jesus by the Pharisees (John 8). According to Jewish law she deserved to be stoned to death. And so they brought her to the Rabbi of Rabbis, in order to trap Him. If He set her free, they would accuse Him of nullifying the Law. If He commanded her to be stoned, He would lose His reputation for compassion. It was a No-win situation. Heads they win and Tails you lose. Jesus dealt with each situation wisely. Even the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men (1 Cor.1:25). Jesus had compassion on her because He understood what it was that made her live the life she was living. It may not have been of her own free choice. Some man may have lured her with false promises and then ditched her. After that, men had repeatedly used her and discarded her. She hated this life. But how could she earn her living? Hardly a day went by without shedding tears. But who would understand her? Who would help her? Yes, Jesus would do both. He would understand her and help her.
I know of many women today who are being rescued from such a life by brave disciples of Jesus, who are taking the risk of confronting the mafia lords who run the brothels. The weeping women in such brothels have lost all hope of living a normal life. Some of them were kidnapped as children by agents who operate the flesh trade. They do not even know who their parents are, or where they come from. Many of these women have now become drug-addicts and need the money they get from prostitution to satisfy their craving for drugs. Many others are infected by HIV and are dying a slow death. Jesus cares for such weeping women and wants to deliver them. He wants to use you and me for this ministry, even today.
That woman (of John 8) never thought she would live another day. She must have been weeping even as she was standing there before her accusers, expecting the first stone to hit her any moment. She saw the compassion on the face of Jesus and her pleading eyes hoped He would understand. He did. He forgave her and turned her path into a new life of discipleship and usefulness to society. He can do the same for you, no matter how low you may have fallen. I do not condemn you. Go and sin no more, are His words to you today.
In the Old Testament too, we read of another prostitute who found mercy from God. Her name was Rahab and she lived with her children in the city of Jericho. She had faith in God, despite her moral failures. She must have wept much over her past life and wanted to become a better woman, for the sake of her children. God saw her desire and so He directed the steps of the Israelite spies to her residence. She helped them and thus her life was saved, when all the rest of Jericho was destroyed. She even married an Israelite called Salmon and became a part of the family tree of Jesus Himself!! Her name is now found in Faiths Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11) along with Abraham and Moses and Joshua! Isnt that amazing? The only two people of that generation to find their names in Hebrews 11 are Joshua and Rahab!! Gods ways are truly amazing. God can do the same for you, dear wayward sister.
We see a weeping widow in the city of Nain. Her only son, the young man who was taking care of her in her old age, had just died suddenly. She wept uncontrollably. She tried to delay the funeral as long as possible, lingering to look at the face of her dear son in the coffin. Reluctantly she allowed the mourners to take the coffin out of her house and she tearfully followed. She was expecting to spend a lonely, dismal night in her home, after the funeral. Little did she know what joys her loving Father in heaven had in store for her. Jesus planned His journey by Nain at that time. He is never late. And He stopped that funeral procession, got the coffin opened and raised up that dead young man and restored him to her mother. God cares for you and He will come by you in your time of sorrow too, dear helpless widowed sister.
All widows have a special place in Gods heart. They usually have no one to care for them on earth. They are helpless and many people exploit them. But God is the God of the widows and fatherless and He says, Let your widows trust in Me (Jer.49:11). Claim your rights then, dear widowed sister and go freely to your Divine Husband and your heavenly Father.
In the Old Testament too, we read of a woman whose son had died (2 Kings 4). She went to find Gods prophet Elisha, for she knew that he alone could help her. No one who saw her that day had a clue that she was weeping inwardly as she travelled that long way. And when she met Elisha, she spoke to him in the language of faith, and said about her dead child, It is well with my child (2 Kings 4:26). No wonder she got her son back from the dead. God honours such faith.
In Luke 13, we read of an invalid woman. This one had been afflicted by some strange ailment for 18 years, that bent her body downwards, so that she could not walk erect. But she ignored the pain and the disability and went faithfully to the meetings every week. It was good that she did not miss the meeting this sabbath day, because this was the day that God had planned for her healing. She had been bound by Satan for many long years. Her utterly hopeless condition made her walk like an animal. That is what the devil makes of his victims (Luke 13:11-13). All those 18 years, she must have wept as she walked down the streets, bearing the taunts of children who made fun of her. She was unable to look up. But her heart waited for her God to deliver her. She may have been an object of pity to others. But even this can make one weep. Some children may have been frightened by her warped, wrinkled appearance. She must have cried out to God on many a night, asking for freedom from the evil curse that the devil had put on her. Then Jesus came and set her free. Jesus saw her in the synagogue and called her out to the front and spoke those wonderful, liberating words, Woman you are freed. Now she could look straight up to heaven and praise her Father Who had set her free.
Those words have now come down to you through twenty centuries: WOMAN YOU ARE FREED (Luke 13:12).
Dear Sister, wont you take that as a personal word to you from your Lord today? You are free now to glorify God, freed from every bondage, every sin, depression, bad moods, hang-ups, hangovers, and every wretched thing that Satan ever invented to harass women through the ages. You are free from the bondage of traditions, free from your foul temper, your uncontrolled tongue, your bitterness, your unforgiving attitudes, your resentments, free from the demonic forces that have oppressed you for so long and bound you. Straighten up right now and glorify God.
Serve Him. No more need you walk with your low self-esteem. You are valuable to God, even if others despise you and do not see your worth. The Hand of God is on your life from today.
The Son of God came to untie every knot that Satan ever tied on you (1John 3:8-Paraphrase).
If the Son shall make you free you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).
Jesus called that woman a daughter of Abraham. We too are daughters of Abraham, according to 1 Peter 3:6 daughters of Sarah, that woman of faith, who has been given to us as an example there. She got the child she was promised in a miraculous way. She too must have wept for many years after her marriage, when she was barren. She waited and waited for the promised child, and must have been tempted to give up hope many a time. It was a shame in those days (as in many parts of India today) to be barren. Many proud mothers may have taunted Sarah and she must have faced the subtle comments and snide remarks of others. She would go into her tent and weep before her God. And God saw her tears and answered her. So dont give up praying with tears. Dont ever lose faith. God will answer you speedily, O woman of faith.
It is perhaps best to conclude with the beautiful story of that weeping, sinful woman who brought an alabaster vial of expensive perfume and anointed Jesus feet, after washing those dust-laden feet with her tears. (Those tired feet had walked the streets of Palestine for you and me as well.) Jesus saw her tears, her repentance, her desire to give up her sinful life and her longing to be accepted by God. He also saw the reasons behind her tears. The religious leaders at that dinner only saw her as a sinner. They looked at her on the outside. Jesus saw what was in her heart. She had been forgiven much and so she loved much. The alabaster vial of perfume (which she must have spent her lifes savings to buy) was a token of her love. She spread the fragrance of her perfume, not only in that house that day, but through her story, into the hearts of many other women like us for 20 centuries.
Jesus gave her forgiveness, salvation and peace. And then He told all the dinner guests the story of a money-lender who forgave two debtors, one who owed him a small debt and the other who owed him a much larger debt. Which of the two would love the creditor more? Jesus asked. And then pointing to the sinful woman, He said that she loved Him more than anyone else there, because she had been forgiven much.
Jesus used sinful, suffering women to teach other people many wonderful truths of the kingdom of God. He understands the condition of women in our Indian culture today, and has come to lift us up, and to give us hope and an awareness of our tremendous value in Gods eyes. No one who comes to Him will ever be rejected. He blessed every woman who ever came to Him in her need, when He was on earth, and He is just the same today.
Dear fellow-women, we have all been forgiven much. This is why we must love the Lord much. He wants to use us now to show His marvellous truths to many others around us.
So, Wake up, O (Indian) daughter of Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your beautiful clothes. Rise from the dust. Take off the slave-bands from your neck. Let your light shine, for the glory of the Lord has risen upon you (Isa.52:1,2; 60:1-Living).
From the book: Woman, Why are you weeping? by Annie Poonen