Longing for Significance – Part 1

A Valiant Woman

Sue Reeve

          The book languished on my bookshelf several months before I decided to read In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson.

     Batterson relays the story of a rather obscure Old Testament character named Benaiah. An exceptionally brave soldier, Beniah performed many heroic acts, including one in which he went into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion (2 Samuel 23:20). Truly, as I read this account, it felt like testosterone oozed from every page.

     Nothing in my rather girly personality paradigm resonates with a soldier who dives into a pit on a snowy day to do battle with a ferocious feline. Truthfully, whenever possible, I avoid leaving my warm, cozy house on a snowy day. Although I possess a fertile imagination, doing combat with a lion in any setting has never occurred to me. Still, I found myself mesmerized by the story of Benaiah, this brave soldier who’d attempted something out of the ordinary—something quite significant.

     Reading In a Pit with a Lion… led me to further explore the book of 2 Samuel. Tucked into the pages prior to the account of Benaiah, I discovered another story of a rather obscure biblical character—this one referred to only as the Wise Woman of Abel (2 Samuel 20:16-22). The story tells of a woman whose gutsy actions and negotiating skills saved her city from probable massacre.

     Both of these stories are filled with danger, intrigue, cunning and courage. Benaiah’s fetes showcased his prowess as a soldier, eventually elevating his rank and position in the king’s army. The Wise Woman of Abel’s brave, strategic actions spared an entire community.

     For several years a sticky note has been affixed to the bulletin board in my office. William Carey, an English minister known as “the father of modern missions,” is the author of ten challenging words written on the note:

Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.

     The words of Carey impact me in a way similar to the stories of Benaiah and The Wise Woman of Abel. They ignite a longing for significance beyond an everyday, ordinary existence.

     Perhaps because I grew up in Montana, I’ve always been intrigued by the women who helped tame the Wild West. Many of these heroines willingly left the security of established homes, bravely severing family ties in order to travel into unknown, harsh territories where they encountered isolation, lawlessness and scarce resources.

     While tending to every need of their families, they were forced to wield weapons in order to protect their homes. They grew and processed food. They produced family necessities like candles, soap and clothing. These heroines also worked tirelessly to establish family-friendly communities with schools and churches. Many became deeply involved in improving social conditions.

     Although I dislike gender stereotypes, and I’m aware there are always exceptions to any observation, I’ve noticed that often, men’s significance and leadership, like Benaiah’s, shine during periods of exploration, fighting battles that present an obvious and immediate danger. Women, on the other hand, often exert significance in their commitment to settling, taming, shaping and serving. Like the Wise Woman of Able, the leadership of women often involves nurturing and protecting families and communities.

     Imaginations of personally doing something great for God roll around in my brain like marbles from time to time. Often, I’ve wondered, What can I—such an unexceptional woman—do that may be considered significant? Then, I’m reminded:

     Stories showcasing significance come ‘after the fact.’

       Significance is built one action—one step—at a time.

         Significance transpires as a result of individual decisions and choices.

           Significance happens when one listens and then, with courage and     
           confidence, ventures into her longing.

     Since I’m a woman and most people reading this Listening on the Journey blog are women, for the next few weeks, I’d like to explore longing for significance from a feminine vantage point by offering tributes to some remarkable women whose lives have intersected with mine and whose stories challenge and inspire me.

Blessings on your significant journey!


Listening on Your Journey:

  • What stories of significance tend to capture your imagination?
  • What significant action, step, decision or choice have you taken in the past or are you taking right now in your journey?
  • If you felt certain God would bless your effort, what ‘great thing’ would you like to attempt for God?

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Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.

–William Carey

This photo of an Idaho pine tree silhouetted against the full moon reminds me of God’s ‘bigness. As my vision of God grows larger, so do my hopes and aspirations.

4 thoughts on “Longing for Significance – Part 1

  1. I love reading your posts. Thank you for the encouraging and uplifting thoughts you give and share with us. My walk with God is new and struggling, but growing. These posts always enlighten me.

    1. Wow, Kim! Your words encourage and uplift me. Thank you so much!! I am glad we can walk together in our journey of faith! As I type these words, I’m praying blessings on your journey.

  2. The more we do those small things with contentment and joy, the more qualified we’ll be for any other kind of ministry. We definitely shouldn’t long for a position in a famous, flagship church.

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