Who is a Widow?
There are over 120 scriptures which use the word “widow”. We are commanded to care for, plead for, defend and honor them. Many other scriptures refer to their husband dying or leaving, without using the word widow, thus adding to this number where God shares His heart concerning her. Scriptures are woven like a tapestry from Genesis to Revelation addressing the mandate God has set forth. Why? Because He declares He is Father to the fatherless, and Husband to the widow! There is great blessing we can move into when we embrace His mandate and do what He has declared. The widow finds great purpose as she embraces it as well.
Widows feel they do not fit! They feel they are not single, not married…they are not sure what they are. Yet widowhood is the fastest growing demographic in the world. Statistically 80% of all married women in the United States will lose their husband by death. In India the statistic is staggering at 97.5%! In the United States, the average age of a widow is 53!!. These statistics are just by the death of their husband and do not include widowhood by divorce or abandonment.
“Anna’s Gate Ministries” accepts the Hebrew and Greek definitions of the word widow, meaning “bereft, desolate, lacking in a husband”. We also include the root word ‘discarded as in a divorce’.
Covering The Widow
According to 1 Cor 11:3, the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is her husband. When there is no covering due to death, or circumstance, the church is called to be that covering, for we are His body through our relationship to Jesus Christ. The needs vary according to the woman and circumstance. Each church or ministry may choose to focus on different types of widows according to the vision God has given them…but we are all called to care for and honor them!
James 1:27 sums up what pure religion (or translated worship) is that the Father God accepts as undefiled and holy..is to care for or visit the fatherless and the widow in their distress, (and) keeping oneself unpolluted from the world. (Note the word ‘and’ is not in the original, so let’s not use it either.) If we care for the fatherless and widow…it will protect us and keep us from falling into the traps of the enemy! It’s our insurance policy!
In India and parts of Africa, the woman is blamed for the death of her husband, saying something was wrong with her causing him to die. In India, if a woman has been divorced, it is permissible to remarry. If the husband died, the widow remains a widow, feeling that she could cause another to die as well. The shame and reproach is unimaginable that she experiences! Sati was a custom used in India when they cremated the husband, they expected the widow to throw herself into the fire as well, for she had no value. Though that has been outlawed, the attitude remains the same and the reproach she carries is seen in all aspects of her life.
In many tribes in Africa, the widow whose husband has died, is given a choice to have her body “ceremonial cleansed” by paying a man who carries these powers to ‘rape’ her and cleanse her body of the evil spirit. If she does not submit, she is usually cast out of her village losing her home and children to add to the grief she is already experiencing. (It’s interesting that in Genesis 38, the first time the word “widow” is mentioned, the enemy put that same thought in the heart of Judah that Tamar was the blame of his sons death as well. Tamar did not accept shame, but moved into her purpose anyway even at the possible cost of her life. It was through her lineage we received Jesus Christ, the Lion of Judah! We can learn a lot from her.
In countries that have Muslim widows, such as Singapore and Indonesia, If a woman becomes a Christian, it is grounds for a divorce. In most areas the Islamic husband is allowed up to 4 wives. If he finds another that he prefers, all he has to do is say to one of the four wives, “I divorce you” three times, and she is discarded. While in Indonesia, I ministered to many of these widows, calling it the “Fifth Wife Club!” You should have seen the life that came into them, when I shared the word, that God said He was married to them! (Isa 54:5) Can’t get any better that that!
In Latin America and South America, many of the widows are ones who have been abandoned and whose husbands are still living. They live ‘widowed’ and may see their husband once every five or ten years! Many times he is living with another woman in another area. Abuse and neglect plague many who do see their husbands but still live as a widow.
While ministering in Israel, the widows I was introduced to were mostly single moms who had experienced rape or were abandoned. They were the ones who took me to the Hebrew meaning and started educating me on the meaning. They told me “You are looking at it from a western mind.” I was and I needed to see it in-line with the scriptures and how it was written.
Our prisons are filled with widows! These women are abandoned, discarded and bereft! Jesus said I was in prison and you visited me! (Matt 25:43) He also said he was naked, or uncovered, and we clothed him….we were a covering to him. He said if we did it to the ‘least of these’ we did it to him! The word ‘least’ used here means ‘being less in the estimation of men.’
For the enemy to work so hard to discredit the widow by putting shame and reproach on her, there must be something very powerful in her calling. If God certainly hears her cry or prayer and He will establish the borders or territory she takes, she has a powerful position in His plan. No wonder the enemy wants to discredit her! In the book of Ruth there are four harvests assigned to the widow to glean. Jesus calls the harvest souls! Oh my, what an honor and position He has called the widow into!
Our job as the church is to find her, bring her into a place of healing so that she can take her position of power through righteous declarations and obedience. Widowhood is the fastest growing demographic because there is a big harvest to glean and territory to take! Widows do fit…yes, they do have a place in the kingdom!
For more details, see the teachings on “The Gospel According to Naomi”, a study on the book of Ruth. Also see the teaching “Releasing the Anointing to Establish the Borders” (a study of 1 and 2 Kings.)