Most of us know that chapter 13 of 1st Corinthians is considered the “Love” chapter in the Bible. We are also probably familiar with love being described as patient, kind and always hopeful. Which of course it is. But those same verses also say that love “always protects” and “always perseveres.” Sometimes that protection is fierce and hangs on like a pit bull once it gets its teeth into you.
Although women have been typically seen as the gentler sex, it is often the female who demonstrates the fierce side of love. This is especially true when it comes to protecting her child or another mother’s child. A woman is very capable of taking extraordinary measures and often dangerous steps to protect that child.
This is also true in nature. If you have ever seen a mother bear or lioness in action when something is even getting close to their babies, you will certainly see how fierce love can be.
God encouraged Jehosheba to take action and demonstrate fierce love by protecting Joash, the son of her brother, Ahaziah. Not only was the child’s life in danger but also the lineage of the Messiah. Jehosheba took the baby and his nurse and hid them in the temple right under the nose of the wicked queen Athaliah. Jehosheba didn’t weigh the dangers, she just took action. (2 Kings 11:9-21)
God empowered Jehosheba, a woman, to act quickly and enabled her to keep the child hidden for six years. “All this happened as God empowered a woman to intervene.”**
In the Book of Exodus, (1:11-19) God tells us about two other women who also intervened in a similar way. Shiphrah and Puah, Jewish midwives, refused to carry out Pharoah’s edict to slaughter all Jewish boys at birth. When summoned to the Pharaoh to explain why so many Jewish boys were still alive, these two women lied and told the Pharaoh that Jewish women were “vigorous and gave birth before the midwives could arrive.” These women performed one of the first recorded acts of civil disobedience. An act for which the Pharoah could easily have had them killed.
Vianne, one of the main character’s in Kristin Hannah’s book, “The Nightingale” is confronted with a decision that could cost her her life and the lives of her children. When her Jewish friend suddenly realizes she will be taken away by the Nazis’ she begs her friend Vianne to take her son so he can be saved. Vianne is afraid and at first says “No” but as she looks into her friend’s face and sees her desperation and love, Vianne says goodby to her friend and then takes the child with her, without a clue has to how she will be able to keep them all safe.
The Nightingale is a fictional story but the characters are based on true accounts of women who lived during WWII and performed extraordinary acts of courage, keeping hundreds of children out of certain death in the concentration camps.
Women are capable of doing extraordinary things when they act out of love in order to protect others. These are just a few examples from the Bible as well as from other historical sources. Acts of Fierce Love are always a possibility when we are witnesses to injustice and social evils. When we realize that someone cannot protect themselves but we could, that is often a God appointed moment for us to act. It is a call to step up and exercise our Fierce Love for someone who needs us to be fierce and unafraid.
** Quote from the book “Fearless Daughters of the Bible” by L. Lee Grady