Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out — the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
. . . . . .
I have been this dead man’s mother.
I have carried broken, dead dreams. I have cried alongside coffins containing my hopes and wishes and prayers. Sometimes my heart.
And Jesus has met me on my way to bury these things. He has stopped the funeral procession in progress. Moved with compassion, he has stepped out of the crowd, lifted my chin, and whispered words of relief.
Sometimes when he does this, I look first into his eyes and then back at the coffin and say, “but they’re still dead.” What I have been carrying with me is still unmoving, void of life. I continue on with the funeral procession, desperate to bury these things in the ground and bury myself in sorrow.
But he replies, “You don’t have to bury this at all.” And with one swift motion, he approaches the dead and reverses the damage. He breathes life into what I never thought I’d see breathing again.
And I am reunited with my beloved.
I am rejoiced, overcome with gratitude and awe.
. . . . . .
This is a beautiful story of a mother whose hope was revived as Jesus interrupted a funeral procession and brought her dead son back to life.
And this, too, is my story as Jesus revives my hope and brings my dead things back to life time and time again.
I have been this dead man’s mother, yet I have also often forgotten it.
I have witnessed Jesus interrupt my funeral processions and breathe life back into my hopes and dreams, and then I have thrown accusations at him. Why didn’t you come sooner?
I have seen him change my life. I was even once that dead man. Jesus saved me as crying, praying mothers walked alongside my coffin. And yet I live as though I’m still dead, unable to move or see a future ahead.
I have been given by God what no other could give: revived hopes and dreams, a healing heart that once felt irreparably broken. And then I have felt the call of death come again, rendering me forgetful of His healing hand.
I find myself crying out as if nothing has ever happened. As if I have never seen dead things rise. As if I never was this dead man and never was this dead man’s mother.
. . . . . .
The Spirit inside of me contains the power to move mountains, yet I have been staring at mountains without making a move.
I forget the power that raised this mother’s dead son lives in me. I forget the work that has been done and the promises that have been given.
Most of all, I forget that God is good.
I question his desire to move my mountains because I’ve been staring at nothing but these mountains all my life.
Of course they’re going to seem insurmountable when all I do is gape at their largeness and question God in His faithfulness.
How is He ever going to prove His faithfulness in my life if I’m so quick to forget my once-dead son?
In Scripture, we read of stories where God came to His children’s rescue and they then built an altar to declare and remember what God had done. So where are my altars? Why am I brushing past healing, victories, and resurrections in my life? No wonder I can’t remember. No wonder I’m quick to doubt and fear.
Where is my good Father? I’ve been demanding.
Where is He not? is the better question.
. . . . . .
My declaration over today: I once was dead and now I am alive. My broken heart is being tenderly mended. My hopes and dreams have been renewed.
What has taken place is worthy of remembrance.
So today, God, I remember you.
The other day I realized one thing I absolutely cannot say I was ever wrong about.
I have never been wrong about loving.
I have never regretted loving a person, no matter how that person has treated me.
And I know not everyone can understand or agree with that because there are some cruel heart-breakers out there. It’s safe to say we’ve all been hurt at one time or other- some emotionally, others physically.
I am no exception. I have been hurt by friends and boys and classmates and family. I have received the devastating effects of loving and not being loved in return.
Yet not one person can I deem as less than worthy of my love. NOT ONE.
No toxic friendship or damaging relationship has made me change my mind on who I ought to love. No deception, heartbreak, betrayal, or fall-out has made me question if I should love the way I do.
Yes, I should have guarded my heart better. But guarding your heart doesn’t mean you don’t feel. I have always welcomed love in my heart because I can’t imagine anything better taking its place.
If God is love and God is alive in me, then that must mean love is alive in me.
And something that is true and beautiful like love can’t possibly be regarded as a mistake. Even if that love was “irresponsibly” given to another without regard to the risks or pain it could bring.
You see, it’s not love that brings pain. It’s how people respond to our love that brings pain.
Does that mean we should stop giving love, then? No. Because to love and be hurt is brighter and more fulfilling than not loving at all.
When we aren’t loving, we aren’t fulfilling our most real and beautiful calling. We aren’t letting God be fully alive in us. We aren’t able to bring fruit into our lives or into anyone else’s.
Love is just about as essential to living as the air we breathe. And so closing ourselves off from loving would be like letting ourselves die.
No, I have never been wrong for loving. PEOPLE have wronged me, but love never has.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:7-19