I've been enjoying the Tuesday night Women's “Focus” studies that Mina Oglesby has been leading this month. Mina has turned our focus toward women in the Bible from whose lives we can draw strength and encouragement for our own. In the busyness of our schedules, it’s challenging to pull away even for the short 50 minute sessions to meditate on Scripture, but the time spent with the dear women of our church has been well worth it! I’m thankful for Mina's funny, yet rich perspective on some “obscure” women whose lives are mentioned in the Bible.
The first night we discovered the hospitality of the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4. She had embraced the ministry of Elisha, even to the extent of building a room for him in which to stay during his travels. I was challenged to seek ways that I could emulate this kind of generosity. Further study revealed that the Shunammite woman had also experienced much grief in her life. Yet, in the midst of disappointment she had lived out her faith in God. I was reminded that God does not promise to eliminate sorrow from our lives (John 16:33), rather He says He will never leave us-that He’ll be with us to comfort and guide us (Genesis 28:15, Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5-6).
Last Tuesday, Mina began by taking us to some funerals. In Numbers 20:1 we learn that Miriam dies. There is no suggestion that the Israelites mourned her death as they did Moses’ and Aaron’s deaths. She seems to go off the grid after her bout with leprosy in Numbers 12. We can’t speculate, but it is interesting that this woman who’d been known for her bravery, quick thinking, and leadership abilities even as a young girl is not mentioned again until her very basic obituary in Numbers 20:1. While Miriam’s leprosy had been cured, we are left to wonder if the leprosy of her soul is what led to an absence of recorded ministry later in life. There have been times in my life that I struggled with bitterness. Even recalling those circumstances to memory threatens to overwhelm me with the hurt, embarrassment, frustration, and anger I felt in those moments. So I can completely understand if she did, in fact, withdraw from any future ministry. I’d like to think that she grew from that experience and that we simply have no record of the impact she had on those around her. What I take away from reading her story is that life is full of challenges and opportunities to grow. I’m thankful for His Spirit who lives in me and is helping me to transform by the renewal of my mind (Romans 12:1-2)!
I’m looking forward to one final “focus” tonight at 7:00p! If you’ve been unable to come, join us tonight! You won’t regret it!