Though spring is in the air and resplendent with the aroma of blossoming new growth, the dead of winter, with its shivering breath of frost, makes its home in the heart of a grieving mother.
This is the second time death has clutched its icy tentacles around a member of her family. The death of her husband caused her to lean upon her only son for support. Now, death has taken her last support away from her. She has no one.
Oh, there are mourners, including friends, but most of them will eventually wander away and leave her as well. But for now, they support the grieving woman with their tears and wails, following behind the open bier.
They have rent their garments and thrown dust in their hair. Musicians play doleful sounds on their flutes as they all make their way up a steep, sloping road on the hill called Little Hermon, which looks out on the Plain of Jezreel. The name of their cozy village, Nain, means green pastures, lovely, beauty, or pleasantness.
Such a dichotomy. A place bursting with beauty and pleasantness, now embraces the ravages of death.
Taking turns carrying the bier out of compassion, the friends and mourners make their way up the rocky hill west of the village that cradles the cave tombs of loved ones.
As the funeral cortege heads for the hill of tombs, a small group meets them coming in the other direction. A quite different group. While the exiting group is led by death, this entering group is led by life, life in the embodiment of Jesus.
Where life and death confront each other head on.
Touched with compassion by the flowing tears of the woman and her mourners, Jesus feels their loss. He stops and says, “Do not weep.” He is not concerned with tradition or the law which would consider Him unclean, so He reaches out to touch the bier and the procession halts.
“Rise up, young man!” He commands.
His words of intense power and healing melt the icy fingers of death and snatch the young man from their grasp. The young man jolts upward and begins to speak. Surely he says Mother!
No faith has been displayed from this woman. No begging God for a miracle of healing. Just an incredible act of loving grace and divine compassion from the Man of God.
Grief and tears are subdued, on hold for a future day. Rejoicing reigns for now with shouts of hallelujah for a life given another chance.
The grieving widow laid aside her garment of grief for a garment of rejoicing. Now, tears of mourning are exchanged for tears of joy.
~~~Do you feel as though you’re climbing a steep, rocky slope headed for a cave of burial? Has your spring of life morphed into a bleak winter circumstance?
* Jesus will call new growth, new life, back into that which has died.
* He will turn those stony hills once again to green pastures, full of beauty and pleasantness.
* He will meet you on your journey of grief as you travel in tears. Always moved with compassion for those who are hurting, He says, “Rise up!”
Whether your hopes have died, your dreams have vanished, your plans have fizzled, your relationships have withered, or whatever has been buried, Jesus walks your way today to raise up your hopes once again.
The Lord said through Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord…has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted…to comfort all who mourn…to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” (Is. 61:1, 2b, 3a NKJV)