By Kari Miller
I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord. -Hosea 2: 19,20
Every girl longs to hear a man pledge his undying love to her. She longs to know that he wants to protect and provide for her as long as they both shall live. Somewhere deep down inside, women long to be seen as someones beloved. They want to inspire their man to pursue them with romantic gestures and to do great and mighty things to show the world that he loves her. Little girls dream of that day when the man they love notices them, pursues them and takes them to be their bride.
As women, we grow up dreaming about what such a moment will feel like: How will we react? What will we be wearing? How will he ask us to be his radiant bride? It is an electric feeling full of wonder and anticipation. We dream of the day when we will commit our lives to each other; never to be alone again. Love is alive and creating its beauty inside of us. So, what happens when suddenly the wifes great love is taken from her? When death inserts its nasty claws into her love nest and snatches her husband, replacing her happiness and security with loneliness and despair. In an instant, she goes from being loved to being alone. Her status as cherished wife suddenly changes to neglected widow.
The world crashes down around her, and she longs for someone to rescue her from the pit she has fallen into. As she sits at the bottom of the pit crying for a savior; one suddenly appears. God sends his only Son to find this widow and claim her as his beloved radiant bride. Jesus weds her and creates a beauty in her she has never known.
Ruth started her life as a radiant bride. Her husband paid her father 10 cows for her , and their wedding was a celebration the whole village enjoyed. Her husband treated her with kindness, respect and tender compassion. Ruth had found a good man and she knew it. Life was good, secure and full of promise. Little did she know that life as she knew it would not last. Death came and took her husband in 2003. He died suddenly and without warning.
She grieved and mourned his death. In fact, she could not figure out how to stop crying. She cried all morning until midday, then she cried all afternoon and often throughout the night. She missed him. It was hard to imagine even one day without him by her side. She was heartbroken. In an instant, she lost everything: her friend, her lover, her protector and her provider. How would she feed her five children? How would she pay their school fees?
In the darkest moment of despair, she reached out to her sisters, but they told her to go home. They could not help her. They could barely feed their own family and could not support her. Then she reached out to her brothers-in-law, but they told her that they had enough problems with their own families.
Everyone she reached out to ignored her cries for help. She felt so betrayed, and even worse, she felt so completely alone. She became full of rage and bitterness. Soon, this bitterness developed into a deep depression. She could not get out of bed. She could not stop crying. She could not leave her house. In this haze of despair, she decided to poison her children and then to poison herself.
Before executing her plan, she decided to go to the lunch-hour prayer service near her home to make peace with God before she killed her family. As she entered the church, the pastor looked at her and nodded his head. She noticed him looking directly at her and nodding his head. It was odd, but she was so depressed it didnt seem to matter. As the preacher stood, he pointed to her and said, Mama, would you stand up? With every ounce of energy, she stood. The pastor looked directly in her eyes and said, Jesus loves you. He LOVES you. He sees you. He sees the trouble you are in, and he will help you. He will provide for you and not leave you hungry. But, please, mama, do not do what you have planned to do. Suddenly, Ruth fell to the ground and sobbed. She wondered how could God love her if he had taken her husband from her. She wondered how she would feed her children. She wondered how she would pay their school fees, but she went home and did not poison her children.
Then the pastor visited her in her home and began to share the scriptures with her. He told her that Jesus did love her and see her. He told her that Jesus weds himself to the widows and becomes their husband in order to meet their every need. In one last desperate attempt, the next morning she began to pray. She asked God to provide food for her children. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. She got up and opened her door. Her neighbor was standing there with her arms full of cooked food. Ruth was shocked and could barely speak. Her neighbor had been praying and God had told her to come feed the Widow Ruth. They ate for three days on that food, and it nourished their bodies, but more importantly, it began to heal the hurt and fear. Another day, another neighbor came with money saying that God had told him to give it to the Widow Ruth. Jesus was keeping his promise. When he vowed to be this widows husband, he vowed to take care of her needs, to protect her and to love her. Now daily, he was doing just that.
For the last three years, Ruth has lived with no income, and Jesus has fed her children every day. One day last week, God told Ruth to go to the market to buy food, but she had no money. However, after three years of trusting her heavenly husband, she knew a good surprise was in store for her. She dressed and walked to the market where she waited for God to provide for her. A teenage boy approached her and asked how she was doing. His parents knew her and had asked him to go inquire about her needs. She told the boy that God had sent her to the market to get food, but that she was waiting for him to show her how to buy the food. The boy then gave her 20,000 Schillings (about $15) and told her to buy food for the week. His parents had been praying and sent the boy to find her. Day after day, month after month and year after year, God has been a faithful husband. He found her dirty, lonely and crushed in spirit and has now turned Ruth into a radiant, vibrant, beautiful woman.
As for Ruth, she told me yesterday that she is done with men; she is married now to Jesus and serves him alone. She told me, Kari, that is what God can do. I bring all my problems to my God, to my husband, and he takes care of them. I am well loved, well protected and well provided for. It is only God who can do that. You just trust him and he will provide. He will love you better than anyone. Sounds like a woman in love, doesnt it?
As a follower of Jesus, will you be a widow’s husband? Will you love, honor and cherish her? Will you provide for her and protect her? One thing is sure, even if you won’t – Jesus will.
Kari Miller is a 4th grade teacher from Minnesota who’s spending her summer months in Uganda with widows and orphans. She longs to inspire others to love the least, the lost and the left out. She is trying to raise $13,000 dollars to purchase land for 100 widows and their children. To make a donation, make out a check to “Christ Presbyterian Church” (or CPC). Put “Cornerstone Widows Ministry” in the memo section and mail to:
Attn: Missions Department
6901 Normandale Blvd
Edina, MN 55435