Meekness doesn't mean weakness

During World War Two there were a very special group of amazing women. These were the women test pilots. Once the planes were made (by women in the factories), each plane had to tested and flown to its destination - which could be anywhere across the United Kingdom, Europe or for those in the USA, anywhere in the country. 

One woman, Mary Ellis, piloted more than 1,000 planes of 74 different types. And this is what made these women amazing. They could hop into any type of plane and fly it. These women were highly skilled and very talented. They didn't just fly the small planes, they also flew the large bombers as well, testing the weapons to make sure they all worked before handing over the planes to the "real" pilots. It was dangerous work and some died in the process of delivering their planes.

Sadly after the war their contribution was ignored and most were unable to find jobs in the aviation industry because "women didn't fly" even though these women were experts in their field. No major commercial airline would employ them as pilots, some became air hostesses which was the next best thing. In the USA, it wasn't until 1977 when these women were finally recognised for their part in World War II.

As we all know, millions of women during the war worked on farms, in factories, as nurses on the front line. These women play a vital role in the war effort. Their hard work on the farms fed Britain and their work in the factories created all the weapons required in war. 

I often hear Christian women using the verses about being the weaker sex or being meek, quiet or gentle as an excuse for not being able to undertake physical work.

“Gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4)

“Giving honour to the wife, as to the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7)

Yes, it is proven that women do not have the same physical strength as men, but that doesn't excuse us from undertaking more strenuous work if it is needed to be done, as these women from World War II demonstrated to us so perfectly.

Being a gentle and quiet spirit doesn't not mean we must all sit at home and never get our hands dirty. Women throughout history have been active in manual farm work, helping their husbands in business (as we saw with Priscilla the tent maker) and heavily involved in the community. They did far more than just care for their children at home and make their houses pretty. We aren't talking about women who believed in the feminist ideology, they didn't know about it back then. These were women getting on with life and doing whatever came their way to the best of their ability. 

Meekness is calm confidence, settled assurance, and rest of the soul. It is the tranquil stillness of a heart that is at rest in Christ. It is the place of peace. Meekness springs from a heart of humility, radiating the fragrance of Christ. (Kim Wagner)

Yes, we are to be meek in how we behave, to be quiet, to be calm, to be gentle — but none of these things make us mousy, weak, feeble or unable to do hard work. Instead it makes us strong, slow to anger, gracious, wise, compassionate, resilient, sacrificial, power under restraint, to listen with care, to choose our words with consideration, to have patience's. 

The men of World War Two were dependent on these women to do a first class job. The planes had to be made with care, the pilots had to fly them safely to the men ready for battle — without these women, our soldiers would not have had anything to fight with. Our roles are just as important and when called to do some heavy lifting, we need to do it joyfully and without complaint. Whilst women are described as the "weaker vessel", we do have the strength and courage to do almost anything that we have to face. 


Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.

For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.

For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.

But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Psalm 37:7-11


  1. Beautiful and well said!

  2. Jo: you might enjoy this article on the meaning of the word *weak*.

    It's NOT refering to physical strength. Interesting.

    1. Thanks for the link - I think I own that book, I must have a look in my book shelf!

  3. Looking at the full verse, we can see that Peter uses weaker. This would imply that men are weaker, but women weaker. It is a comparison!
    And looking at the verse, I think it refers to emotional strength, not just physical strength.
    Personally, I think this verse is probably a real hard one for the husbands 😉

    1. It interesting the emotional strength - as women do have pretty high levels of emotional strength certainly during times of adversity . Thinking about farming couples and the high rate of suicide among the men, its the women that hold the families together and get through the problems, whereas men (because they don't talk about their problems to a great degree) often fall apart. Women over the years have come up with ways of strengthening their ability to cope by talking and sharing problems with other women. The men often feel like they have failed and can't provide for their families and that tears them apart.

  4. I really like the Sarah Plain and Tall books and movies. To me, Sarah embodies a gentle yet strong woman. She works hard but is gentle (most of the time, she still has her moments, don't we all??) :)

    1. I loved the series, totally agree about being gentle but strong .


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