MITRA: A reconstituted womanhood

By on March 8, 2018
Narayan Mitra is the pastor of Merritt Baptist Church.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this column don’t necessarily reflect those of the Merritt Herald and its staff. The Herald welcomes qualified writers with views on this or other faiths to submit their work to, to be considered for publication.

This week marks the celebration of another International Women’s Day.

In honour of women world over, the United Nations initiated the institution of this annual observance to lift up the status and the spirits of henceforth ‘unequal’ partners of the human race.

In recent months, the spirit of this celebration has taken on a different and difficult meaning with such slogans as “Me Too,” and “Equal pay for equal work.”

Our own prime minister has gone beyond his call of duty to bring in measures that have long been overlooked.

He has put in his hands to where his (and others, though dormant so long) mouth has been, in order to reconstitute, albeit feebly, the gender atlas of Canadian women, and even of those overseas.

Not too long ago, one of my young friends, also in Christian ministry, left for his heavenly abode, leaving behind his 29-year-old wife.

While it is hard to imagine a life without one’s life partner at such a young age, life throws curves at all of us, young or old.

In order to counsel the deceased wife, I looked up afresh the story of a young widow in the Bible, that of Ruth, who was torn apart by the choices she had to make when she lost her husband.

Ruth loved her country and her parents and relatives. Now, how could she choose between them and her mother-in-law?

No doubt they all had told her what decision she had to make at this difficult stage of life.

Standing on the road together, even her mother-in-law advised Ruth to turn back to her own relatives and forget those years when she had learned to love the God of Israel, the God whom her husband had taught her to love.

Her mind instantly replayed the happy years with her now-deceased husband and his family.

She had overcome many differences she had to face because she was a widow and a foreigner at that.

Her husband worshipped a different God. His ways were different. He held different ideals, rules, attitudes and morals.

One by one, she made decisions to go his way, not hers. She decided to embrace his God as her own, not just because He was his God.

She recalled the hurting, the unreality of those early years when she and her sister-in-law and the mother all suffered together.

 How they helped and encouraged each other in their sorrow!

She loved her husband’s mother, Naomi, even more than she loved her god. And now Naomi wanted her to return to her own country.

Ruth had to choose between her blood relatives and the God in whom she had come to put her trust.

Unknown to her, her choice decided whether she would become an ancestor of Jesus Christ, the Son of God or not.

In times of hard decision-making, seldom do we realize what the results of our choices in life would be.

If we choose to obey God, we are not left to say later: “If only I had known what the result would be.”

What enables us to make hard decisions in life?

First, we practice the small, day-to-day ones we know we ought to carry out. Through these experiences our character begins to get moulded.

Each hard choice makes it easier to make the next one right.

Ruth came through this latest period of indecision feeling wrung out, but happier.

She chose to go with Naomi, not just because Naomi had been a good ‘mother’ to her, not just because she and Naomi had been through hard experiences together, but because she had learned that God is trustworthy.

Without Him she could not face life.

God controls our circumstances in order to mould our character as a potter moulds the clay in his hands.

Ruth spoke some of the most sublime words found the Scriptures: “Where you go, I will go. Your people will be my people. Where you live, I will live. Where you die, I will die and be buried.”

As she put her unknown future into the hands of God, she had no idea that her name would be recorded in the Bible as the great-grandmother of the greatest King of Israel, and as an ancestor of Jesus himself — she, an outsider, a foreigner, a young helpless widow.

Our circumstances may be horrific or ordinary. But the Lord knows what is needed in our life and perfectly fits our experiences to mould in us the character He wants.

We have the choice to cooperate with God or to resent Him and His plans. Remember, He is the potter with all the rights to make us the kind of vessel that He can use.

He is using His hands to personally create the circumstances that will perfectly fit us for His use. Co-operate with Him, don’t become bitter.

Become a vessel fit for the Master’s use.

Narayan Mitra is the Pastor of Merritt Baptist Church, 2499 Coutlee Avenue, Merritt. You can reach him at

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