Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Widow of Nain

Yesterday, I read this passage on the bus.

"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.'"

I stared at the letters in dark red and thought about what Jesus' direction "do not weep" meant.

Do not weep.

Did the mother even hear Jesus?

If she did, did she think he was mocking her?  "Do not weep"?  She was leaving the city on her way to bury her only son. Who could say to her, "do not weep"?

Maybe she wasn't even mourning yet, still in denial.  Maybe she looked at him numbly and tried to understand what the words meant. "Do not weep."  Is someone trying to talk to me?

Maybe she raged at him inwardly.  What was wrong with him, trying to cheer her up at a time like this?  When your entire world is quaking as the storm rages inside you, "do not weep" is likely to have the opposite of the intended effect.

Did she feel that she had a right to mourn (a reasonable thought on her part), and that he should just leave her alone? "Do not weep".  Yeah, fat chance of that.

In those few seconds after Jesus looked at her, felt compassion for her, and said, "Do not weep", what went through her mind?

On what grounds could he possibly say 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."

He could say "do not weep" because he knew that he was the one about to turn her broken world into something unspeakably wonderful, about to make everything that was wrong right again.

So when everything that I hold dear seems to be crumbling, when I can't see my way clear in any direction, when I feel like the pain of a fallen world will crush my very existence, there is a small still voice that says,
"Do not despair.  Do not lose hope.  Do not fear.  Rejoice and be glad."

On what grounds can he possibly say that, when it seems like the sky itself is hostile and the floodwater will never go down?

He can say "do not weep" because he is the one who, in the end, makes all things new.

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