I agree with Indiana Jones: “I hate snakes!’ Or maybe I don’t actually hate them…I’m just terrified. A few days ago, our son ran in the house to tell me he found a young copperhead while cleaning out our garage. My first thought was “Yikes!” My next was, “Go get him!”
Like any good soldier, I ran toward the danger. I went after that snake with a vengeance and sent him into the next life. Why? Because he was in my garage…near my kitchen door…a threat to my home and family! Even though I’m scared of snakes, my love for my family made me brave.
Maybe you can relate. Is there a time when you did something that scared you to protect someone you loved? You were showing valor.
I’m captivated by the Hebrew word chayil, translated “valor,” used to describe the Proverbs 31 woman. Who can find a woman of valor? (Proverbs 31:10 OJB). God created woman to be a nurturer. But He also made her brave.
Simply put, valor is personal bravery in the face of danger, especially in battle. In its nearly 100 uses in the Old Testament, the word for “valor,” chayil depicts warriors, like King David’s “mighty men.” Other times, chayil describes God as a warrior for His people. It’s the same word for heaven’s angel armies.
I find woman of valor both compelling and poetic. My 30-something daughter, a young wife and mother, likes this expression because it makes her think of courage and strength. Valor is courage. But the woman of valor also embodies honor, strength of character, virtue, and so much more.
I believe we need to become women of valor as we face our own battles today. Unlike the woman of Proverbs 31, we enjoy breakthroughs in medicine, science, and travel. But consider some of the enemies we face in our world: Addiction, divorce, domestic violence, child abuse, poverty, unemployment, pornography, human trafficking, joblessness, homelessness, racism. Plus, it seems almost daily, we’re bombarded by news of random terror attacks somewhere in the world. If this isn’t war, my friend, I don’t know what is.
The woman of valor is essentially a warrior, a “fighter” at heart. She fights not only for her personal world, but also for the world around her. As I listen to conversations with women of all ages, stages, and walks of life, I’m hearing a recurring theme—their heart’s desire to be strong for their families and communities. In short, they long to be courageous women God can use to change the world. Is God calling you to become a woman of valor? Remember, it’s love that makes you brave.
Marilynn Chadwick, Woman of Valor: Discovering the Courage and Strength God Gave You (Eugene: Harvest House, 2017).