Coming Up Short

These are challenging financial times for widows. The 2020 banking letter from the Federal Reserve of Chicago noted that that the average household income three years before a spouse dies is $75,000. Three years after a husband’s death, the widow’s income is reduced to $47,000. Some would say that the widow should do well because she is only responsible for one person now. However, the mortgage and car payments remain the same; utility bills usually increase every few years, and the widow now must hire a handyman to do home upkeep chores that the husband used to do. 

How was it possible that a bank with a 40-year reputation of supporting upstart businesses and the tech industry collapsed in one day? But the bank closed on March 10. Many people touted the Silicon Valley Bank as “the” bank to go to for investment, financial help, and security. Yet, when large depositors began withdrawing cash, SVB simply ran out of money. The bank took a $1.8 billion loss when, of necessity, it sold $21 billion worth of bonds. One financial expert said 190 other banks may be on the brink of failing. 

On May 1, another bank – First Republic Bank – was taken over by regulators and much of its holdings were bought by another large company. It was said that mass withdrawals led to this collapse. How is this possible? The bank officials should have taken precautions to prevent the disaster.

Jesus had much to say about money. He talked more about money and personal finances than He did about heaven and hell. He often used money in His parables to teach biblical principles. Here are a few fundamental truths Jesus taught about money.

  • We should not let money rule our lives. Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
  • Giving that God honors is done so that only God gets the glory. Matthew 6:2-4. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets to be honored by men. … But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” 
  • In the parable of the Sower and the Seed, Jesus said that some seed, which is the Word of God, is sown among thorns. This is the person “who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful,” (Matthew 13:22). When Jesus had a conversation with the Rich Young Man in Matthew 19:16-26), He said, it’s difficult for a person who trust in his riches to enter the kingdom of heaven (v. 23).
  • Investing in what pleases God or what God considers important brings heavenly rewards. “Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near, and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” (Luke 12:33-34). 
  • Jesus also talked about good stewardship: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” (Luke 14:28) The context of this Scripture is discipleship, but it’s an excellent business principle.

For most of us as widows, our financial resources are limited, which makes these difficult days even more challenging. How are we going to manage in 2023 with the prices of food, gas, and everyday living necessities increasing?  The following are a few tips garnered from Dave Ramsey, a financial guru:

  1. Know your income and expenses.
  2. Pray about your financial situation, asking the Lord to direct your planning and decisions.
  3. Establish a budget and stick to it.
  4. Put God first in your budgeting. 
  5. Be wary of grief spending. 
  6. Include savings, even if it’s small, in your budget.
  7. Get out of debt and eliminate credit card spending. 
  8. If needed, talk to a trusted financial advisor.

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 – 7) Jesus said: “Do not worry about what to eat, what to drink, or what to wear (Matthew 6:25-34). “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). May God help all of us as widows to trust Him to see us through these troubled times.


Tomorrow (Friday—Good Friday) we honor Christ’s death. Reading the passages in the Gospels and reflecting on His great sacrifice help us to concentrate on the price He paid for our redemption.

            Matthew 26:1 – 27:65

            Mark 14:1 – 15:47

            Luke 22:1 – 23:56

            John 18:1 – 19:42

A millennium before Christ’s death, the Psalmist David described Jesus’ suffering (Psalm 22). Jesus even quoted David from this Psalm when He was on the Cross: “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (22:1) People living in those days memorized large portions of Scripture, so when Jesus cried this phrase from the Cross, He was expecting people to remember the entire Psalm. Jesus was in essence asking people to refer to this Psalm to understand what was happening.

About 700 years before the actual crucifixion, the prophet Isaiah predicted the Messiah’s death and gave us the how and why of His suffering: “Surely, he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that bought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53: 4, 5).

Sunday we will celebrate Christ’s resurrection with joyful songs of grace, redemption, and healing. Because of His resurrection, we can have hope for our resurrection. I’ll never forget my grandfather’s funeral more than 50 years ago and the joy I sensed as we sang the truth of John 11:25: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” But we will never be able to fully rejoice on Easter Sunday unless we have experienced the cleansing of sin that Christ bought through the shedding of His blood on that Friday more than 2000 years ago.  

The sign on a local business says: “It’s not about the bunny; it’s about the Lamb.” As we color eggs and buy chocolate for our children and grandchildren, may we concentrate on the real meaning of Easter and honor our Savior who died so that we might have life.

A Test and a Miracle

A Test and a Miracle

Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog about our attitude when things seem to be going wrong (see “We Don’t Know”). I wrote that Jacob was convinced that “Everything was against him” (Genesis 42:36), but he did not know that God was birthing the greatest miracle of his life.  Little did I know that God was going to allow me to go through a circumstance that was seemingly VERY bad, but would, in the end, turn out for my good.

I decided one Saturday morning to return a jacket I bought online to the store where I purchased it, which was about an hour away from where I live. I was about half-way there when a flashing light came on my car dashboard. At first, I thought I would just continue as planned. Then I sensed that I should return home, so I turned around and headed back to Springfield.

I did not stop at my home but went immediately to the car dealership. I was told that it would be a couple of hours before they could discover the problem, so one of the men graciously brought me home. Shortly thereafter, the dealership rep called to tell me that I needed a new engine. I was shocked! A 2020 car with 27,000 miles should not have this problem. He also told me, however, that the car was under warranty, that the repair would be paid for, and that they would reimburse me for a rental. He also said the repairs would take about two months.

I had difficulty releasing the problem completely to the Lord, so I experienced several weeks of stress, sleeplessness, and headaches. I felt uneasy driving the rental. I would pray and give the problem to the Lord, but then something else would come up about the situation. I was not handling it well.

The dealership offered to buy my car, but what they offered was minimal to what a replacement would cost and minimal to what the car was worth if the engine were good. Besides the 20 months of payments that I still owed, I would have 3-4 years of additional payments at 9.9% interest. It was simply mind boggling. I could not envision going further into debt for an older car with more mileage than what I had been driving. What should I do? How should I do it? Who should I talk to? And what should I say when I talk to someone? I had no idea.

I was assigned a case worker at the auto’s corporate office. When she called and asked what I would like, I told her that I would like for them to buy back my car. Several days later she called to say they would pay for a new engine and the rental car, but buying my old car was not an option.  A friend told me that the repair would probably be much longer than the promised two months. Several others, including a mechanic, told me that the car would never function well again.

Days passed with no progress. When I called to ask the dealership questions, I was transferred from one department to another. No one seemingly wanted to be honest with me. Meanwhile, a friend from my Life Group told me she was still praying for a miracle.

About a week later, a salesperson from the dealership called. She said she had heard about my car problems; and now they would like to increase their purchase offer by $6,000.00. And she wanted to help get me find a different car. Several days after that, the corporate rep called to tell me that they would pay half of what I owed on the broken car. I could hardly believe what was happening.

Friends gave me advice about purchasing a car, the pros and cons of the ones I was looking at, and how to negotiate with the salesperson. To make a long story short, today I’m driving a different 2020 car with approximately the same mileage, and I owe nothing on the car. I do have a few payments for a service package I bought.

These past twp months or so have been stressful, but God has helped me to research options, to talk with people, and to choose the right vehicle. He gave me favor with people whom I’ve never met and helped me to sit quietly while waiting for answers.  Solomon said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). I hope I’ve learned my lesson.

God is always working — even when we don’t know it!!!

Each January as I return to read Genesis, the Holy Spirit seems to emphasize something new. About a week ago I was reading chapter 42 when these words seemed to pop from the page:  Jacob said, “Everything is against me!” You and I may not have said it so others could hear, and our words may have been a bit different, but all of us have thought the same as Jacob.

It seems as if once we begin a day wrong, everything goes wrong. We have been awake only 30 minutes when we burn the toast and spill the coffee; we are low on gas and stopping to fill up makes us late for work. Then the computer has a glitch and the project we have just spent an hour on is gone and can’t be retrieved. Our lunch sandwich is soggy, so we throw it out. The hunger pains drive us to the candy machine, and all our healthy eating goals, which we have dutifully kept for three weeks, are broken. Then we remember that we forgot to thaw the meat for supper, and a friend who needs help is coming to share the meal. Yes, just as Jacob says, “Everything is against me!”

Sometimes days are just upside down. In those situations, we must train ourselves to rejoice even in challenging circumstances. What Jacob didn’t know (and what we often have no idea of) is that God was in the process of providing the biggest miracle of his life.

If you remember the story found in Genesis 37, ten of Jacob’s sons decided to get rid of their younger brother, Joseph. They were jealous of Jacob’s obvious affection and preference. At first, they put him in a pit, but then got the bright idea to sell him into slavery to men who were traveling to Egypt. Jacob was sure Joseph was dead when the brothers showed Jacob his son’s beautiful blood-stained coat. (The brothers killed an animal and put the coat in the blood.)

God prospered Joseph in Egypt as he worked for Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, until Potiphar’s wife decided to entice him. When Joseph continually refused her advances, she looked for a way to trap him. He escaped, but she lied about the incident, and Potiphar put Joseph in prison. God even blessed Joseph there. Through providential circumstances (see Genesis 39-45), Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and was appointed as second in command in the land to oversee the stores of grain to prepare for the coming famine.  

Joseph’s brothers go twice to Egypt to buy grain. The story in Genesis in 43-45 is fascinating, and Joseph finally revealed his true identity. Joseph’s attitude was exemplary; he told his brothers, “[D]o not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you,” (Genesis 45:5). The brothers returned to Canaan and brought Jacob to Egypt where he lived until his death at age 147.

When Joseph introduced his father to Pharoah and Pharoah asked him his age, Jacob could have told him all of God’s blessings. Afterall, he had sons, daughters, grandchildren, great wealth, was a healthy 130-year-old man at the time, and he was now with the son whom he thought was dead. And that boy was a leader in the land. What more could a man ask for?  Instead, Jacob said, “My years have been few and difficult.” Poor Jacob, regardless of God’s goodness to him, he looked on the dark side of everything.

We may be going through very difficult times, but we have no idea what God is working out in our lives. Unless, however, we learn to trust the Lord and praise Him when things are challenging, we will not be able to rejoice well when we are blessed. Sarah Young offers this prayer in Jesus Listens: “Sovereign Lord, please help me to live joyfully in the midst of my struggles.… I need to remember that You’re always in control and taking care of me.”

Thinking about you today and trust that you are experiencing the peace and presence of the Lord as you are either with friends, family or alone. The Lord is with you wherever you are.

Embracing Winter

Thursday’s warm temperatures gave me hope that our upcoming winter would be mild. But my hope was shattered as I awakened today to temperatures in the mid-20s. The over-night rain ushered in a cold front that dropped our temperatures significantly. So much for global warming!!! And we are expecting our first winter storm Monday evening. I must admit that I prefer 90-degree temperatures to ice and snow.

For some of us as widows, winter seems to fit our mood right now. We are navigating one of the stages of the grieving process and seem to be stuck. The beautiful summer flowers are gone; the landscape is barren; the gray clouds hide the sun’s warmth, and spring seems an eternity away.

How do we escape the doldrums of life’s winters? We don’t! We embrace them as part of the process and look for beauty even when everything around us seems dead. I’ve planted many bulbs and perennials in my gardens, and I know from experience that they are alive in that black dirt and even in the process of multiplying, although I cannot see one sprig of green.

I can’t tell you how excited I get when my daffodils peek through the snow. For me, this demonstrates that even when life circumstances are at their darkest moment, God is at work producing new life and beauty. When we see the smallest indication that we are passing though one of grief’s trials, we should rejoice. The warmth of praise will produce further growth. The apostle Paul exemplifies this in Philippians.

Paul was in a Roman prison for sharing the gospel. We are unsure in which prison he was housed during the writing of this letter, but we know he was suffering greatly. It was so difficult that he longed for death (Phil. 3). Incarceration then was nothing like today’s prisons. He had to provide for his own food and necessities, was often isolated from others, and conditions were unsanitary. He may have been confined underground, making it impossible to see light. The believers in Philippi sent Paul help several times, and he thanks them in this letter for their generosity (Phil. 4:14). Most of all, this letter reflects Paul’s attitude under very challenging circumstances: JOY.

If our life is rooted in Christ, we can maintain a joyful attitude even when we are experiencing deep pain. Paul found joy through praying for and ministering to others. He did not ignore his situation. He even labeled the world around him as “crooked and depraved” (Phil 2:15). Paul told the Philippian believers to “rejoice always” (Phil. 4:4). And, just like Paul, we are able to “shine like stars” (Phil. 2:15) as we face our circumstances without “complaining or arguing” (Phil 2:14).

A New Computer Program

Several weeks ago, I was presented with a new software package at my job. I was not frightened or anxious, but change is always a bit challenging. I knew the old program quite well, functioned in it comfortably, and thought the old program adequately met our needs. With a few clicks, I could solve problems and find answers. I could enter new data and combine it with the old for a complete financial picture. For me, there were no red flags indicating the program was malfunctioning or antiquated. I simply liked the program, with which I had become so familiar.

However, my boss learned that the program would no longer have technical support if we had problems, so we were forced to purchase new software. This is so very much like the process of widowhood.

We did not ask to be widows; we enjoyed our former lives and had learned to function well in the responsibilities. For me, it was my husband’s illness and then death that forced me into widowhood. For you, it could have been a car or work accident, or a disaster of some sort. Regardless of how well we liked the old life, it was gone, obsolete, no longer available.

Just as with my new software, a widow’s learning curve is steep. We make many mistakes, which require corrections. At times, we are even uncertain of simple tasks. When we need help, we feel foolish because we couldn’t figure it out on our own.

Learning a new program takes time. While there are similarities to the old program, functioning within the new one is completely different. In my new computer program, even some of the vocabulary is new. In navigating the new world of widowhood, much of life’s processes are different. For me, it even seemed that my relationship with my children changed.

My boss assures me that I’m doing well, and that each new day will bring more confidence. God’s Word tells us that He loves the widow and cares for her. He has promised to be a husband to us (Isaiah 54:5), that He is ever mindful of us and our needs (Psalm 68:5), and He heals the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3). Because of Him and His Word, we can gain renewed strength and confidence each day.

God’s plan for me did not end when my husband drew his last breath. God did not say, “OK, Tony is gone, we don’t need Miriam anymore.” The direction of my life has certainly changed; my surroundings are different; some of my friends are new. But God has been in the formation of this new life even before I was born. Tony’s death did not catch Him by surprise. It’s always been: Let’s continue with the plan. Our responsibility is to discover the plan through the leading of the Holy Spirit and then follow it. As God’s plans unfold, we will find joy and satisfaction even in widowhood. As with my new computer program, we may even find that some of the processes are better.

Once again, I’ve been reminded of that very familiar Scripture: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

God Is With Us

Have you every felt worthless?  I have. Invisible? Powerless? Insignificant? Overwhelmed by daily responsibilities? I have! All of these are quite common for a widow. The “so called” experts tell us that feelings like these will lessen in time as grief is healed. However, I have found that they often recycle as daily circumstances remind us of what we lack. The negative feelings often surface because we no longer have a “sounding board” or a partner with whom to brainstorm, someone to remind us of good times and past victories, or we fail to consider the promises from God’s Word. Our frustration is much like Elisha’s servant in the Old Testament.

In 2 Kings 6:8-23, the king of Aram was angry because Elisha was telling the king of Israel how, when, and where the king of Aram was going to attack. It’s a fascinating account of how the Holy Spirit gave insight to Elisha. Even the king of Aram’s army knew that Elisha was warning Israel’s king of the battle plans.

The king of Aram discovered where Elisha lived and sent the Aramenan army by night to surround the city of Dothan to capture the man of God. When Elisha’s servant awakened in the morning and saw the army he said, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” (v. 15). He was sure there was no way of escape.

This is just like us when we face circumstances beyond our control. We wring our hands and cry out, what are we going to do; how are we going to do it; where’s the money going to come from; who is going to help me? We recount all our woes to ourselves and, just like Elisha’s servant, we are sure defeat, bankruptcy, and loss are just around the corner. However, just because we are overwhelmed with feelings of negativity and defeat, doesn’t mean that God has forsaken us or that those feelings are true.

Elisha told his servant, “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (v. 16). Elisha had not one worry. It’s almost as if I can see him still in bed, and simply telling the servant not to worry as he turned over and tried to go back to sleep. Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” (v. 17). At that very minute the servant’s eyes were opened and he saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire. These were ministering angels who were ready to defend Elisha and his servant. God’s army was in control of the situation.

When we are in the middle of a severe battle – whether it’s physical, spiritual, financial, or emotional – may the Lord open our eyes to see His ministering spirits surrounding us. In one of the darkest times in my life during my husband’s illness, God opened my eyes and allowed me to see His ministering angels around my husband. Even though things were difficult, I knew without a doubt that God was in control.

The apostle Thomas had doubts about Jesus’ resurrection since he knew the brutality of the beatings and the crucifixion. He told the other disciples that he would not believe unless he saw the nail prints in Christ’s hands and the wound in His side. (John 20:24-29). When Jesus appeared again to the disciples, including Thomas, Jesus asked him to touch His scared hands and side. Thomas’ response was one of complete surrender and faith: “My Lord and my God” (v. 28). According to verse 29, Jesus said, “[B]lessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

This is part of faith – believing even when we don’t see the results right away. God has promised that He will be with us, sustain us, meet our needs, and provide protection. He has even promised to be a husband to the widow (Isaiah 54:5). Trusting God’s promises also will bring the joy (Psalm 28:7) and peace (Isaiah 26:3) that we so need when problems arise .

Uncertain Times

Uncertain Times

From my yard

For more than a week, I’ve wanted to share about our weather extremes. I have daffodils blooming and my tulips and hyacinths are up several inches – good signs of spring. But for three weeks, we have experienced highs in the 60s for a day or so and then the temperatures would plummet. Ice and snow followed. Even two days after last week’s storm, ice covered more than half of the driveway and walkway to my front door. Again this week, our weather is shifting from beautiful to stormy. Although temperatures have not been in the balmy 60s or 70s as last week, we anticipate temperatures in the 50s tomorrow again. However, temperatures are forecast to plunge on Thursday night with a significant cold front, and our meteorologists predict snow.

I’m glad that God is certainly unlike our weather. At least 13 times, the Bible says that He never changes. (Three of the best known are Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6, and James 1:17.) We can depend on His Word, His promises, and His character.

With developments in Ukraine, our weather problems became insignificant. I have never traveled to Ukraine, but as I looked at the photos of the people, buildings, and streets and heard their accent as they spoke English, I was reminded of my time in Romania. I taught in two Bible schools there – twice in Timisoara and twice in Oradea. Of course, there are differences, but I see similarities. The Romanian Revolution began in Timisoara in 1989. The bullet holes in buildings in the city’s center were never patched so people would remember the price that was paid for freedom. Oradea, just eight miles from the Hungarian border, also has experienced the horrors of war and loss of freedom, especially in the Jewish areas during WWII when most of the 40,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz.

This is not the first time Ukrainians have fought for their freedom, and the tension between Russia and Ukraine has deep roots. After World War I, Ukraine endured brutal Soviet treatment. In 1921-22 and again in 1932-33, the Soviet Empire “engineered” two famines in Ukraine, which killed more than 8 million people. During World War II, nearly 8 million Ukrainians died in German/Soviet fighting. The Ukrainians have not forgotten and do not want to be under Soviet rule again.

This also is a religious battle. In 2018 and 2019, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church declared its independence from the Russian Orthodox Church, with its more traditional orthodox teachings, and aligned itself with Orthodox Church in Constantinople, which has more western leanings. Putin is determined to reunite the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox churches.

We live in uncertain, desperate, momentous times! God’s Word gives us insights into the challenges of today. Jesus said that “wars and rumors of wars” would mark The Last Days. “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:1-14). Luke records it this way: “When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away” Luke 21:9. We are truly experiencing the signs of The Last Days.

It’s easy to be terribly frightened when listening to the news and seeing the atrocities. We can’t help but think what if this were happening here. Our only hope is to keep our eyes on Jesus, the Prince of Peace and continue to pray for Ukraine, the surrounding nations, and the U.S.

Last Thursday night the Slavic churches in our area gathered with our church for a prayer service for Ukraine. It can be viewed here: And today we continue to pray: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew6:10).

The Backdrop of Matthew 1

Matthew, chapter 1, is an important chapter, but I think I’ve only heard one sermon on it in my life. And it’s rarely included in Christmas messages. It’s significant to us as widows because three of the four women mentioned are widows.

The apostle Matthew was not a typical Jew. Before he joined Jesus as an apostle, he worked as tax collector for the Roman government. Thus, he was hated, treated as a social outcast, considered a liar and cheat, regarded as a sinner, and may have been refused as a worshipper in the temple.

Since his Gospel is directed to a Jewish audience, Matthew traces Jesus’ lineage from Abraham and King David to Joseph, Mary’s husband and Jesus’ earthly father, because it was customary to trace a person’s lineage through the father. The Jews also knew the biblical prophecies that said the Messiah would be in the line of David. Thus, Matthew presents Jesus as the rightful heir to David’s throne.

It’s significant that Matthew mentions four women, especially since three of them participated in sexual sin (Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba), two had no Jewish lineage (Rahab and Ruth), and three were widows (Tamar, Ruth, and Bathsheba). Women were not highly regarded in that culture, although Jewish culture treated women with more respect than pagan cultures.  Their inclusion in the genealogy says to me that God recognized women’s role in His redemptive plan and that God chooses imperfect people, like you and me, to do His will. It also demonstrates that Jesus identifies with sinners, since He came to seek and to save the lost.

Tamar’s story is found in Genesis 38. According to Jewish law in that day, when a woman’s husband died, her brother-in-law was required to marry her, and her first son would be considered the son of the dead brother. When Tamar’s husband died, she married her brother-in-law, but he refused to give her a child. When that man died, her father-in-law refused to give his third son to Tamar as her husband. She took measures into her own hands, played the role of a prostitute, and became pregnant by her father-in-law. Both of her children are listed in the genealogy (Matthew 1:3).

Rahab was a gentile prostitute (Joshua 2). Because of her actions in helping the Jewish spies, her life was preserved at the destruction of Jericho. She married into a Jewish family and became the great grandmother of King David. God does not look at our pedigree, our status in society, or even our wealth. God uses the person who forsakes her old way of life and chooses to live by God’s standards.

The Book of Ruth, one of my favorite books in the Bible, portrays a widow’s wonderful love story. She, a gentile, was a gracious friend to her widowed Jewish mother-in-law. God blessed Ruth with another husband, which then leads to the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). Ruth’s story teaches us that God works something good out of the challenges in our lives. God’s provision for her of work and food shows God’s care for widows.

Most people know the sordid story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), the fourth woman in our list. She had an affair with King David when her husband was in David’s military. Some feel she was a victim; others feel she was a willing participant, since we have no record of her trying to reject David’s advances. Her father, Eliam, was one of David’s warriors (2 Samuel 23), and she possibly knew David when she was younger.

While the names in Matthew 1 may seem like laborious reading, the stories of the people listed teach us significant principles. God cares for us as widows; He keeps His promises; His redemption and His plans are worked out even through imperfect people.