I can’t shake it. In my spirit I keep hearing God say,
“Women arise! Women arise! With open hands lifted up to heaven. With lips ready to give praise and speak truth. With hearts soft and open, ready to receive my message. It’s time to receive your spiritual inheritance. To receive your personal marching orders for this important hour.”
As women we should be encouraged. We may be soft on the outside, but we’re strong and mighty in spirit. We are God’s secret weapons and the enemy knows it. He takes us seriously, even when others don’t. The enemy’s strategy has been to keep us quiet and in hiding. But God is doing an end run. He is going to release so many of us at once that the enemy is not going to know what hit him!
After hearing this from the Lord, in my mind’s eye I saw a cave. I looked closer and many women were in it, too many. And they were afraid to come out.
Some felt the cave was a safe place to stay — that only men were equipped to venture out and fight the battles beyond. Some felt content to stay, because the cave was indeed their place of service. But many felt restless, unsettled. Many felt called out, but some had been told those feelings were wrong — so they stifled them, stuffed them down and poured guilt upon themselves. But for some, those feelings could not be ignored. Their call could only be fulfilled beyond the cave.
Let’s take a quick look at just a few of the betterknown women who ventured beyond the cave.
Deborah was a prophetess and a judge. She was a married woman with a day job outside her home: judging a nation. Deborah carried a governmental mantle and she was trusted to disperse wisdom for the whole nation. When she called for the army commander, Barak, and told him it was time to go to war, Barak wouldn’t go to battle unless Deborah went with him.
Then there was Esther, an orphan. When her story began, she was much younger than Deborah and still single, but she knew how to hear from God. She was abducted with many other beautiful young girls and taken to the castle of a heathen king who was having a contest for a new wife. God told Esther to listen to her uncle who had been raising her and take the advice of the man in charge of the girls. Esther hid the fact that she was Jewish, and God gave her a strategy to become the queen.
But little did Esther know all the Lord had in mind. When the whole Jewish nation was in line for extermination, Esther fasted and prayed, and God gave her intricate, day-by-day wisdom with splitsecond timing. With God’s wisdom I believe she moved prophetically — giving time for the king to have a sleepless night and for Haman’s gallows to be built.
Only God could have orchestrated such an incredible deliverance for the Jewish nation and such a fascinating turn of events to judge the bad guys. But it was a young Jewish orphan girl who listened and followed God’s plan.
One of the things I really like about the stories of Esther and Deborah is the incredible teamwork that happened between them and the men God put in their lives. Mordecai was behind the scenes praying and sharing wisdom with Esther. And I would imagine Deborah’s husband (along with the whole nation) prayed when she and Barak went off to war.
Many years later Jesus rose to prominence, and a young girl named Mary poured ointment on his feet. Her act of worship was despised by the men around her. They thought it was wasteful. But Jesus pointed to her extravagant adoration as an example every believer should follow: the example of a simple, worshipping woman.
And still many years after that, Joan of Arc, a young girl from a poor village in France, began to hear God speaking to her. Her faith and visions took her before her government with a plan. Joan of Arc became the only teen-ager in all of history ever to lead a nation’s army. She was betrayed and became a martyr, and she is still an inspiration to people around the world today.
Hundreds of years later, four teen-age girls were sent to America from England on a mission. The Salvation Army was flourishing in England, but unknown in America. Within months these teen-agers started a movement in America that is still going strong today. Then there was a young Albanian woman who went to India as a schoolteacher. While there, she felt a call from God to help the poorest of the poor. She walked out into the streets of India without any money and simply began to pick up and take care of the dying from the gutters. She lived in poverty and did menial tasks even when her name became known worldwide as the byword for the embodiment of Christian love and compassion. She was Mother Teresa. As a pauper and a servant, she received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Jackie Pullinger left the United Kingdom on a freighter, believing God would tell her when to get off. When the ship docked in Hong Kong, she disembarked. Jackie quietly and sacrificially won the trust of heroin addicts, prostitutes and violent gangs. She learned God’s secrets about the poor, she learned Chinese, and she learned the keys to praying people off heroin addictions. Jackie is still in Hong Kong today, and because of her continued sacrifice there is a flourishing Chinese church filled with countless people with new lives.
Today the mission field is filled with women who are leading churches and pioneering works in remote tribes and villages. They are teaching, training and raising up native pastors so God’s work can grow. There are also women serving God in the suburbs and the inner cities — in the pulpit, on their knees and in the streets. Some are prominent Bible teachers, and others are serving in relative obscurity.
Maybe it’s time for you to venture out of the safety of your cave to see how God wants to use you. There’s always room for one more out there.
Copyright: 2000, Last Days Ministries, Box 40, Lindale, Texas 75771-0040. All Rights Reserved.
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