The Author of Sorrow and Joy

Rachel Chimits

World Challenge’s widow program in Uganda is helping women find freedom and joy once again through prayer and the Spirit’s healing.

When Filda’s husband was murdered, she felt joy quietly pack up its bags, nod to her from the door and then step out into Uganda’s shimmering heat.

She trusted that God had a plan. She had regularly attended church, and bereavement did nothing to stop her from marching down the dirt road with her five children to Sunday service. The joy in her life did not return.

So she began to pray for God to bring back the light and joy in her life. After all, scripture promised, “The prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:15-16, ESV).

Seeking the Lord Relentlessly

When World Challenge’s partners in Uganda approached Filda and asked her if she would help lead a widows group, she agreed. She would help women who had lost loved ones and felt lost inside themselves. She began to partner with another lady leader in the church to offer Bible lessons over the radio, and women in the community loved their teachings; but through it all, Filda did not stop praying.

There were a few other widows who also prayed with fervency, anguish and fire. They knew, deep down in their bones, that nothing happens except through constantly seeking the Lord’s face.

Filda gathered five of them, and she invited them to pray and travail with her through the night. So much in their country, communities and inner lives was broken. So much grieved the heart of God and so must grieve their hearts too. So much went unpraised that ought to be recognized and lifted up with delight to their maker and Savior.

On Friday evening, they gathered at 7 p.m. and began to pray through the long watches of the night.

The Father’s Quiet Answer

Somewhere between the radio Bible lessons and long night prayer sessions with her ladies, joy snuck stealthily back into Filda’s house and soul. In the wee hours of Saturday morning, as the prayer warriors brushed off their knees and stood to say their ‘Glory to God’ prayer, she would rejoice and watch the sun rise.

Where once there had been death and despair, God had given life, light and the voices of many friends.

“Filda is one of the godliest people in the church and within the widow’s ministry,” Our partners shared. “Her strong leadership is definitely on display, and the widows in her group love Filda greatly.”

Now pastors call her on Friday night, if they have a need for their family or their church, because they know that Filda and her ladies will be praying and the heavenly Father will be listening.

“There are many who say, ‘Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!’ You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:6-8).