I found this to be an awesome, spiritual encouragement from a recent newsletter through our PSP. With permission of our principal, I pray you are blessed by these words…
Have you ever noticed that trials seem to happen in waves? It often seems to me that we experience spiritual challenges in groups. Usually the first trial comes along and we begin well in the weathering process. Pray over it, remember the promises that God has given us, and can usually keep our hopes up. Then the next trial comes along, usually while the first is still going on. We start out well again, but as the third, fourth, or even further along, 5th or 6th trials come, we become consumed with the difficulties, and can tend to lose our focus. Our view of God becomes obscured and the light grows a little dim. If we stay like that, our world can become quite dark, sometimes literally overnight.
I recently had the chance to revisit a story that most of us are probably familiar with, the story of a widow who had just lost her son. In Luke’s account of the gospel, he shares with us the account of the widow of Nain. Take a moment to read the account in Luke 7:11-17.
As I read the passage, I struggled to find a link between it and another passage regarding John the Baptist in prison. Trying to find a connection between two Sunday school lessons for different age groups is always rewarding for me. Golden nuggets come to light that I may have missed if I wasn’t comparing several passages with each other.
Often we read without taking the time to really and truly put ourselves in the story. As I tried to imagine what the widow was experiencing, the picture started to become a little clearer. In our preset time, a widow may not have as hard a time of things as back then. Many women have careers and, with a few changes, can still be self-sufficient with the loss of a spouse.
At the time this was penned, that was not true. A woman who had lost her husband was in great distress. Her children took on the duty of caring for Mom as she became older herself. This woman had basically lost all help. First her husband, and then her son, her only son, was also removed from her life.
Whatever property she may have had would probably revert to the next closest male relative of her husband, and she would be left to try to cobble together some form of income and sustenance at a later time in life.
Sure, at the moment, during the funeral procession, there were lots of people around her, and I am sure that some would have tried to help her; but late at night, when she went home, who would be there then? She surely felt alone, without hope, and utterly overwhelmed by her current situation. It was at that moment that Jesus came by. It says that He had compassion on her. She was stricken with grief, He said, “Do not weep.”
He could have made a great show of it, waited for the man to be buried and had the stone rolled away; but instead, he touched the coffin… causing the procession to stop. Then He simply speaks and everything changes. It says that the young man sat up and began to speak and that Jesus then presented him to his mother. In the middle of the hurricane of her life, His voice brought life, hope, peace and joy. She didn’t need a major display later down the road, she needed Him now, and He knew it, and met her at the time and place, and in the way that she needed Him most.
Later in the same chapter, when John sends messengers to Him asking basically “did I get it all wrong?” Jesus sends back the response…”the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them…”
John asks should I look for another and Jesus lists out the works that He had been doing, basically reaffirming that no one but God could do what he had been seeing and hearing about.
The same is true for us today. We don’t need big ostentatious displays of God’s power, shown on national TV for the entire world to see; we just need to hear His voice. Right where we are, in the midst of our darkest times, the Light of His presence eases our fears, worries, and doubts. The sound of His voice calms our hearts just as it calmed the stormy seas 2,000 years ago.
Scripture tells us that He had compassion upon the widow. Do we think He loves us any less, or lacks the tender heart toward us that He displayed that day toward a poor woman in great need, or toward His servant John? Of course not!
The very first words of our text say, “Now it happened.” Does God ever do anything by chance? He knew when to arrive, what to do, how to speak to her, and what she needed long before the funeral procession began its march, and He came on time. When we find ourselves in the midst of the darkness, may we look for the light of his presence, we will find Him. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He can’t. He loves us too much.