United Church of God

Letter From William Bradford - March 11, 2022

Letter From William Bradford

March 11, 2022

An example of faith, prayer and thankfulness

We may not have paused to consider it, but the Church of God has many widows and widowers within the many congregations around the world.  In fact, here in Beloit, Chicago and Munster I believe we have 19 widows and several widowers.  For our update today, I'd like to cover several scriptures that highlight some of the great service that windows provide as they add their special contributions to our congregational fellowship. 

Let's start with a comment Paul made to Timothy about the life of widows who are following God. 

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 NKJV)  

Paul highlights the tremendous trust that widows have in God as their guide, as well as the many prayers in which widows communicate with their heavenly Father.  When we fellowship with widows, we can learn powerful lessons about faith, walking with God in everyday life situations and in how to be regularly in communication with God throughout the day and evening in prayer.   These are some of the reasons why Paul said a few versus before in I Tim 5:3 that we are to show honor to windows.  

Within the gospel of Luke, we see an amazing example of a widow and prophetess named Anna. 

Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36-38, NKJV)  

As a result of her situation, Anna was able to spend much time in the temple and was an example of dedicated service to God.  In her studies, she had learned a tremendous amount about the redemption that would come through the prophesied Savior. And she shared her knowledge and passion about the future intervention that God would perform in Jerusalem to all who were likeminded.  She inspired others with her years of experience and was one of those women whose story has been shared down through the ages wherever the Bible is read.

We value and honor widows for their deep faith in God and their example of thankfulness for how He provides for their needs.  I am reminded of various windows within our family over the years who at one time or another have shared "God is my best friend" or "I see God as my loving, caring and interested Father" or "God is the person I talk to most".  What a powerful example these widows are for each of us!  When we fellowship with widows (and widowers!) at church, or get together with them in social situations or just touch base during the week, we can be uplifted by their conversation and example.

Thank you to all the widows who serve our congregations in their examples of faithfulness and thankfulness to God.  When a widow tells you she is praying for you it is highly encouraging (!) as we can be sure God is hearing those prayers. Let's honor and appreciate our widows and widowers for the role and example they provide for each of as we fellowship within our congregations. 

Have a peaceful Sabbath and as Jude wrote in Jude 1:2, may "mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you" this Sabbath

-Bill Bradford