“When we fear for our future, we are never truly free.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 8, 2021
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25 (NLT)
As we approach Mother’s Day, many of us likely have the mothers in our lives on our hearts and minds this weekend. As such, a passage like Proverbs 31 may rise to the top of your mind, remembering the many ways it celebrates and rejoices in a woman of virtue and noble character. This type of woman “brings good, not harm” (v. 12), “rises early to serve those she loves” (v. 15), “cares for the needs of the poor and vulnerable” (v. 20), and “speaks with wisdom” (v. 26).
Much could be said about each of these virtues, and though no mother is perfect, undoubtedly you have seen your own mother and other mothers in your life exhibit these virtues in humble and self-giving ways. Yet as I read this entire chapter, one verse in particular stands out to me, which seems to be the basis upon which all of these other virtues are made possible: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25).
When we fear for our future, we are never truly free. Fear keeps us consumed by our own wants, needs, and desires. Questions like “What if I don’t have enough?” or “How are we going to pay for that?” dominate our thinking and consume every bit of energy that we have to give. In times of social and economic upheaval, these fears are exploited and heightened, threatening to consume our every waking moment. And if we give in to them, they shut us down and close us off to the life of others around us and our ability to love them unconditionally.
The woman in Proverbs 31 is overcome by joy and lives with an unshakable trust in the goodness and protection of God. How do we know? Because in spite of the many difficulties or challenges she faced on a daily basis, the orientation of her life was directed fully towards the good of others, in her home and in her community. This kind of selfless love is only possible when we are confident that we are known and loved by the Lord. It is his strength and dignity that clothes her, not the fruit of her own hands or result of her tireless labors. Therefore, wrapped in his love and assurance that she is beloved by him, the Proverbs 31 woman is set free to give her life away in love for others, just as she has been loved by the Lord.
Father, thank you that you clothe us in your strength and speak dignity over us. Let that lead us into a life of self-giving service and love, in your name. Amen.
Take time today to give thanks for the “Proverbs 31 women” in your life.
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