Tagged: mourning

The Dead Man’s Mother

Photo by ozgurcakir via Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/6nWHbx)

Photo by ozgurcakir via Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/6nWHbx)

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.

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The End of Our Mourning

The death of Moses was a pivotal time for the Israelites. Wandering through the desert for forty years on their way to the Promised Land, it’s no surprise they were deeply distressed upon the news of their leader’s death. After all, he was supposed to bring them there, right?

“Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.” (Deuteronomy 34:7-8)

There are several things we learn from these verses.

1) Moses died while he still had his strength.

Moses led the Israelites all those years but there was one among them worthy of finishing the job. Joshua was chosen to finally lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. Joshua was courageous and trusted God (Exodus 17:10, Deut. 34:9, Joshua 3:1) while Moses was less than brave (Exodus 3:13, 4:1, 4:10). Joshua was immediately obedient (Joshua 3:1) and made sure he and the Israelites were putting God first, allowing Him to lead the way (Joshua 3:3, 24:15). He believed that God would work miracles (Joshua 3:5) and was “filled with the spirit of wisdom” (Deut. 34:9).

Moses was a great leader, but God had another in mind. In order to finish the job, he had to make way for Joshua.

Likewise, we suffer from loss in our lives very unexpectedly. When it seems like everything’s going great and there’s even better things to come, God eventually throws a curve ball in our lives. This isn’t too harm us or purposefully cause us or others to suffer. Sometime it is just to make way for better things.

2) The Israelites grieved for Moses for thirty days.

Why is this significant? Because during the time period of the Israelites’ wandering, traditional mourning lasted SEVEN days, NOT thirty. This implies that the loss of Moses was especially painful and especially dramatic.

We all suffer in our lives, some more than others. Sometimes we can’t help but mourn and weep for our losses. Change can be especially difficult to deal with. The Israelites depended on Moses for so many years. What were they to do now that he was gone?

3) The Israelites remained in place “until the time of weeping and mourning was over.”

It’s understandable that we are afraid of the future or have no wish to press forward while we are hurting or mourning. However, the Israelites knew that they had to make a conscious effort to focus on what’s ahead and not let their sufferings hold them back. Instead of wallowing in their pain for forty more years, they CHOSE to listen to Joshua (Deut. 34:9) and followed him into new territory, closer to their destination, the Promised Land.

You may be struggling right now. You may be tired and hurt. You may not have a wish to move forward. You may be questioning why God would bring such pain into your life. One thing that must be remembered is that IT’S NOT OVER. Like the Israelites, a lot of us need to make a conscious effort to put our trust in God once again. We need to pack up our bags and continue walking towards the Promised Land. It’s so easy to wallow in pain, but God has other plans for us.

Give your struggles up to God and put your faith in Him. Expect a miracle.