*There are many stories in the Bible about women and some of them are about women of African descent.
But the important thing is that all of these women were included in the Word of God for a reason. None of them were backdrop for stories about men, and two books of the Bible are about and named after women.
In 2012 that may not sound remarkable, but for the men-are-the-only-ones-that-matter societies at the time the Bible was written down, this is nothing short of miraculous. God spoke directly to the women of the Old Testament and in some cases made a point of the fact that He spoke directly to them. Like in the story of Sarah, God asked her husband, Abraham, why Sarah laughed when God said that she was going to have a baby even though she was old. Sarah lied and said that she didn’t laugh and God said to her directly, “You did laugh”. God heard and answered prayers for Hagar; He guided Rebekah; He forgave Miriam; blessed a lineage of Kings and Priests from Elisheba; allowed Tirzah and her sisters to inherit their father’s estate; made Jael the commander of an army; restored joy to Ruth’s life; elevated Deborah to a judge and prophetess; gave extraordinary purpose to Esther; and turned Rahab, the prostitute, into a direct descendant of Jesus Christ.
In the New Testament, Jesus called women his friends. First, his mother was a flesh and blood woman who he honored all the days of his life. Then there were the women who travelled with Him and his disciples and who tended to Jesus’ needs, even unto the crucifixion, like Mary Magdalene and Salome, wife of Zebedee. Mary and Martha, with their brother Lazarus, were part of Jesus’ friend group and He stayed with them when He was in town.
Then there is the Samaritan woman whose story is found in John 4. Jesus made a special trip to see this woman even though she was a woman and Samaritan (the Jews hated the Samaritans and looked down on them like they were misfit Jews). This was the first time Jesus ever spoke outside of Israel proper. And, although Jesus did not preach in Samaria, many came to know him because of the respect and kindness that Jesus showed this despised of all women.
It is the same for us today. Sometimes we feel that Jesus is the only friend that we have in certain situations. But that is okay, sister, because Jesus is the one that will bring it home for you and stick with you closer than a brother. Dear lady, the loneliness will vanish and your joy will be renewed when you can call Jesus your friend.
Michele Clark Jenkins, co-founder of Sisters in Faith, is the senior director of the consulting group for Griffin & Strong, PC. She was co-creator of Real: The Complete New Testament Biblezine, writer/editor of the Children of Color Storybook Bible, and contributed to the Women of Color Devotional Bible and Wisdom and Grace Devotional Bible.