Friday, October 11, 2013

The Ladies of Luke - A Mourning Mother

Has your heart ever been broke beyond words?
Have there been moments when the overwhelming rawness of life hindered your ability to speak or think - or do anything more than breath?  Yeah - me too.
Luke 7:11-15          Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd. Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, "Do not weep.” And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother. 
Now here is a lady that understands heartbreak and loss. Already a widow, she is now taking the long walk to the cemetery to bury her only son. In this culture, this woman has just lost her last hope. She is now alone. No husband or child to care for her, protect her or provide for her. Her today is filled with sorrow and her tomorrow looks bleak. Yet, she didn't throw herself at Jesus' feet, she didn't call out to him "Lord, Lord". From the text, we can't be sure if she even saw Him at all. But HE SAW HER. In the midst of her pain, Jesus noticed. And don't miss it, 'cause this part is import: He did something! An extension of His love and compassion, His grace and His almighty power over all things; it was nothing she asked for or could ever deserve. Jesus addressed the need of the woman in a way that only HE could.

But let's be real. Most of us haven't buried a spouse and a child, so can we really relate to this lady? Let's take a minute and break that down. My family isn't perfect, we're just people and that means that we do stupid people things and say stupid people things from time to time. A job can pay the bills, but it's not always fun or personally fulfilling - and what about all of those good Godly people who are under-employed, unemployed, or on furlough?  Good people are struggling to sell a home in a topsy turvie market, and more families face the demanding challenge of raising a special child with unique medical/behavioral/educational needs. How many parents have cried a river of tears as their adult child chose to walk away or drift away from God? What about the health complications we never expected, but now must face? We are surrounded by husbands and wives who have forgotten or fell away from what it is to live and love together under the blessing and direction of God - and they live each day in pain.  Then there all of us who are living through what can be a war zone with creatures we label as toddlers, preschoolers, kids, teenagers and emerging adults. Even great kids have bad days; great parents have bad days too. To go back to work or stay at home with the babies?  What about those OREO people - providing assistance and care for aging parents and helping to care for, provide childcare for and co-raise their grandchild? Too many bills and limited finances. Lots of demands on the schedule and not much time. The newlyweds, the new empty nesters and the new retiree's . . . think there is no stress, conflict and heartache there?

We serve the same God that saw the widows heartache and was prompted to act. That Jesus guy - He loves you and He loves me that much too! On the days when life is so big that breathing seems like a task, Jesus is there. He sees and He cares. Even when your heart is so heavy that your eyes can't look up for Him, He still looks toward you. And more than that, Jesus is still in the business of meeting needs in ways that only He can. It may not be the way that others expect, or even the way we'd like or expect - but our needs will never go unnoticed. He loves us too much for that :-)

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