(This story was adapted from Luke 7:11-17)
Today I would bury my only son. I had lost my husband some years ago and had raised my son alone. I depended on him for just about everything from chores, to helping to provide, to protection in some cases. In this culture, it really helps to have a man around, that’s for sure.
But it wasn’t just the chores and the physical stuff, no, we had a strong mother-son bond. We were each other’s right hand, or at least it seemed that way to me.
Now he’s gone. I didn’t want this day to come. I tried to will it not to come, but it came anyway, and now I have to face it — the funeral. Funeral processions are just a grisly practice, in my opinion.
I dreaded the long walk to the graveyard. I dreaded the unsettling noise of the wailers and professional mourners, and I dreaded the commotion and comments from my family and friends. Most of all, I dreaded saying that final goodbye to my son-my heart, brutally broken without mercy for the second time. Death is by far the worst part of life. I only have one question, “Why?” He was a good boy. He never caused any trouble, he loved God, and he honored me. Oh, the anguish of this … I can’t breathe. I can’t see through the pooling of my tears. The tears don’t seem to want to fall out of my eyes; they just keep building up until I’m blinded by an ocean of grief.
Even though I miss my son terribly, I have decided against all logic to trust God right here, right now. This is the day the Lord has made… though I am having much trouble rejoicing in it, I will call upon the Creator of this day and ask Him to get me through it. To be perfectly honest, I can’t wait for this day to be over. Granted, tomorrow may be worse, but at least I will have put this day behind me instead of looking at it as it’s crouched in front of me like a hungry lion just waiting to finish me off.
Ok, get dressed, and face this day, I told myself. I headed out the door to put my son to rest.
I had some money saved up, so I had bought him a pretty nice coffin. It was what I could do. There were a few guys who would carry my precious son to the cemetery, and I met them outside. I was surprised to see how many people had come out from the city of Nain to help me mourn my only son. We headed outside the city for the burial. After what seemed like an eternity of walking, all of a sudden, the whole procession stopped. I didn’t know why at first, but then someone said that Jesus was there. He had stopped us. But why? I had heard of this man. He claimed to be the Christ that we had been waiting for.
Then there He was right in front of me. With a powerful compassion in His voice, He said to me, “Don’t cry.” What a strange thing to say to a grieving mother at her son’s funeral, I thought. It all happened so fast. The next thing I knew, Jesus was laying His hands on the coffin and telling my son to get up! Again, I couldn’t see because of the tears, but these tears were quite different from before. I wiped my eyes, and there he was, MY SON, sitting up in the coffin, and talking up a storm!
I’m crying as I write this because it was such a terrifyingly extraordinary moment. My heart leapt within. My whole body was filled with a joy that I simply cannot convey with words, and my praise to God was so loud that I’m sure it reached His throne in heaven.
The final nail out of the coffin was when Jesus gave my son back to me. It was surreal as hundreds of people lifted up a roar of praise to God for the great thing He had just done!
I’m so glad that I didn’t give up that morning, or in the midst of my mourning. I’m thankful to God that I pushed myself to face the worst day of my life only to realize that because of Christ, it was the best day of my life, after all.
My advice to those who are reading this is to never give up. What has died yesterday can be resurrected today if you let Jesus in on your grief. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and His compassion is powerful enough to raise the dead.
A Widow from the city of Nain.