A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation – Psalm 68:5
It’s heartbreaking to see how widows are treated in South Asia. They don’t receive the care, love or support that widows in North America do. Instead they are blamed for their husbands’ deaths and abandoned by their families.
A widow is stripped of her colorful clothing and forced to wear a white sari because her status has changed from married to widowed. The glass bangles she wore to let the world know of her marital status are smashed into tiny pieces. The privilege she once enjoyed as a married woman has been taken away from her simply because her husband died.
A widow is not in control of her own life. Her eldest son is. And she is one of the lucky ones if she gets to sleep in a tiny corner of his house. Can you imagine, you raised your child–cared for him as best as you could with what you had and years later when you are a widow, that child controls your life and treats you like an animal? I have seen dogs and cats treated better here in North America. They get to sleep in warm beds. Yet, we have widows in South Asia sleeping in corners.
Can you imagine your mother, sister, daughter or you being sent out of the family home and forced to work for a few cents a day at a temple or beg on the streets just to survive? This is the sad reality for widows in South Asia. They don’t have the skills or tools that would help them to earn a living so they are forced scrape by as prostitutes, beggars or daily laborers. If they are mothers, their children are forced to work instead of going to school. Those who wander while their mothers work are vulnerable to abuse.
Widows are shunned and degraded. Their lives are filled with pain and struggle. Poverty and hopelessness are burdens they carry everyday. They need to know that there is a Savior who is willing and able to relieve them of these burdens. They need to know that He loves them and wants to deliver them from their despair. They need to hear the Good News. They need hope.
I encourage you to open your hearts to the struggles widows face everyday and to pray for them. Pray that they learn about the One who knows every detail of their lives and cares for them. He doesn’t blame them for their husbands’ deaths. He wants to provide for them. He wants to change their circumstances so that they no longer have to beg or degrade themselves in order to feed themselves and their children. Pray that they will be able to earn an honest living to support themselves and their children. It would be especially good for the older widows to have their own small businesses. Pray that their children will be safe and that they get to learn about Jesus’ love through Bridge of Hope centers, Sunday schools and vacation Bible schools. Widows need to be in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable sharing their struggles, strengthen their faith and foster relationships with other believers. They find this kind of environment in Women’s Fellowship groups. Pray for these groups who reach out to widows by visiting them at their homes and inviting them to meetings. Pray that God will provide them with more opportunities to encourage and share Jesus with these women who are forsaken and abandoned by their families. They have this promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day – 1 Timothy 5:5
And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him – Psalm 37:40
Source: Gospel for Asia