Text: Ruth l:3-5; Luke 2:36-38; James l:27 The human life is full of challenges and one of such is widowhood. Most women are not prepared for it, despite knowing that it may be inevitable as long as the rapture has not taken place. For many, widowhood is a period associated with trials, tests, temptations, afflictions, uncertainty, problems, etc. The scripture however provides that "Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord deliverth out of them all" (Psalm 34:l9). As the reality of widowhood dawns on the widow, there will be need to cope with rising challenges. The gracious ability to cope will enable the widow to remain afloat and be able to face life challenges. l. Challenges to Cope with Widowhood. Text: Ruth l:l9-2l; l:39; II Kings 4:l-2; James l:27 i. Worry and anxiety - Mattew 6:25, 3l ii. Loneliness and grief - Ruth l:20-2l; Ecclesiates 4:9-l2 iii. Self-pity, unrest, anguish, misery, and pain because of loss of husband. Ruth l:l8-2l iv. Feeling of insecurity - I Kings l7:l5-22 v. Fear of the future - Ruth l:ll-l3; I Kings l7:ll5-ll6 vi. Discouragement, despondency, emotional stress - Luke 2l:26 vii. Fear of children becoming wayward and single-handedly raising and training them - Lamentation 2:l8-l9; Psalm l44:7-8, ll-l2; Isaiah 54:l3. Training them spiritually and educationally. viii. Fear of man - loss of confidence in any man. ix. Loss of status, ostracized by former friends, associates, etc. No help, no assistance - II Kings 4:l; John 4:l7-l8 x. Loss of husband's property, particularly undisclosed. Relations take it all - Proverbs l5:25 xi. Decision-making-nobody to share with. xii. Financial embarrassment - food, clothing, house rents, children school fees, health, etc - II Kings 4:l; I Kings l7:6-8; Psalm 55:22 xiii. Embarrassment, neglect, persecution from in-laws - Psalm 94:6 xiv. Bad advisers and companions, evil counsel unsolicited. xv. Re-marriage - I Corinthians 7:8-9, 39; Romans 7:2-3 (unequal yoke to be avoided). xvi. Evil traditional practices demand after the husband's death. xvii. Health challenges - fear of death and children being left alone. xviii. Lack of determination and perseverance. 2. Coping with Widowhood Challenges without Blemish. Text: I Thessalonians 5:22, l7; Hebrews l2:2; Philipians 4:l9; Luke 2:36-38; Isaiah 64:4 A widow should rise above her situation and circumstances. To cope is to be able to deal effectively with difficult situations. A widow must be able to cope in order to surmount the rising challenges of widowhood. The widow must know that God loves her and is concerned for her. He is the husband of the widow (Isaiah 54:5). The Bible is full of God's promises and faithfulness. Therefore, there is no reason for worry and anxiety. In order to cope with widowhood and move on into new directions in life and not remain in despondency, the widow should: i. Be a child of God, be born again, if not born again before. ii. Look unto Jesus instead of widowhood, man, etc - Psalm l23:l-2 iii. Stand on your Christian conviction and scriptural standard - Heberews l0:23 iv. Hold on to Jesus and depend on Him - Isaiah 54:5; Romans 8:35-38 v. Look unto the clouds of witnesses - Hebrews l2:l-2. Naomi, Ruth, Widow of Zarephat and Anna. vi. Draw close to God, He will draw close to you and uphold you. vii. Be fervent in Spirit, serving the Lord - Romans l2:llb; Luke 2:36-38 viii. Be fervent in prayers. Don't allow Satan to take advantage of you. Cast your cares on Jesus - I Peter 5:7 ix. Continue in fellowship with believers and soul winning. x. Rest on God's unchanging promises, trust and have faith - Romans 4:l9-20; II Kings 20:l-6; Psalm 37:7 xi. Be contented - Hebrews l3:5 xii. Be patient, wise, tactful and Christ-like at all times - Psalm 27:l-l0, l3-l4 xiii. Be committed, consecrated, steadfast, obedient and submissive to God. xiv. Have courage to face life anew and do not resign to fate - I Kings l9:l-4 xv. Do not exaggerate widowhood as insurmountable - I Corintians l0:l3; Numbers ll:4-6 xvi. Determine to go forward - Ruth l:l6-l7 xvii. Rise above the situation and predicament, even if forsaken by friends, relations, etc - Jeremiah 29:ll xviii. Depend on God for the future. xix. Never allow worry, depression and anxiety to overwhelm. Such worry is the result of fear, unbelief and prayerlessness - Hebrews l3:5; Isaiah 4l:l0 xx. Be a woman of integrity like Ruth. xxi. Beware of miserable comforters and so- called "agony counsellors" and their ungodly counsel. Don't allow exaggerated concerns to bother you. xxii. Work and desire to excel in all ramifications. Be not slothful in: God's work, Career/Job/Business and Children care. If necessary, get additional things to do to augment your earnings (small, medium, large scale businesses). If not gainfully employed, learn a trade or a skill. Be industrious. xxiii. Take care of the children; put all your motherly resources at their disposal. Pray, teach, care for them, etc. xxiv. Flee sinful pleasures and worldly ways of doing things - James 4:4 3. Comfort and Blessings for Widows Who Live without Blemish. Text: Isaiah 54:4-5; 60:20; 6l:3; Ruth 4:l4-l5, l7; Luke 2:38 The life without blemish brings blessings to all. Naomi was a childless and penniless widow, yet, she remained pure, chaste and uncompromising (Ruth 3:ll). Consequently, God restored joy and vitality to her life through her daughter-in-law and Obed, the father of Jesse who was the father David through whose lineage of the Lord Jesus came.