The Widow’s Son

Today’s Gospel reading is about the widow’s only son who had died; it is about the time that Jesus healed that son and how the son rose from the dead.  We don’t understand why miracles happen or why they don’t when we believe. The important reality: Miracles and answers to prayer are a mystery and so we give Him thanks in all things – when we witness those miracles we beg for and when they do not come to fruition before our eyes.  The widow at Nain did not understand why He chose her and her son. She didn’t try to even imagine the reasons. She only rejoiced and gave thanks.
Here is her story, excerpted from my book, Who is Jesus?

He Chose Us

I choked on the dust that swirled around me and filled my nostrils. Unending tears stung my eyes. I can barely see; I may as well be blind anyway. The din of wailing and flutes deafened me. The heat of the long day past weighed heavily. It was too hard to lift one foot in front of the other. Arms of friends guided me. Words spun through my head without control. How can I survive? This can’t be real. Who will care for me? Who will help me? Why? Why? Why?

The procession continued toward the caves. I tried not to look at the face of the young man on the bier. My son! My only son! The last of my family! I stole a glance and convulsed into more sobs.

A crowd bigger than our procession approached from behind. Their voices rose, interrupting my despair. Oh, please, have respect for the dead. I looked back toward them. One man seemed to lead them. He stopped to face those people with him and raised his arm to silence them. Thank you.

In a few moments, he reached my side. I sensed him looking at me. In my grief-induced stupor, I slowly turned my head toward him. Those eyes are full of compassion. He understands my agony. He slowed his pace to match mine. With a voice that made me think of a cool breeze in the blazing heat of noon he comforted me, “Don’t cry.”

I stopped. He paused with me. I turned to stare closely into his dark eyes. Who is this man? And, then, he reached out to touch the wicker bier. Instantly, everyone halted and stopped wailing. The flutes’ melancholy notes strangled and stopped.

“Young man, get up.” Did he really tell my son who is dead to rise as though he is alive? An involuntary gasp by one and all present confirmed my thought.

My son pushed himself up. The bearers stumbled to lower the bier quickly. All praise to God!

“Where am I, mother?” a groggy voice asked as his eyes locked on mine. “What’s happening?”

The man who had spoken stepped closer, took my son’s hand and held it out for me. I leaped forward and grabbed my son into my arms, “My son! You were dead and now you live!” Tears sprang from my eyes. I glanced behind me at the stranger. He smiled and his eyes twinkled with moisture.

All around me people laughed and cried and danced. The reality of what happened dawned on us, and nearly every man and woman present fell to their knees and called out, “Praise be to God!”

“He has sent a great prophet like Elijah and Elisha before him.”

“God has visited us with a great miracle!”

Yes, God has done this. But why did he choose to raise my son and not others? I will never know the answers to those questions. I only know that he did.

Before we re-assembled ourselves, the teacher had moved ahead with a multitude of followers. My neighbors told me his name is Jesus, son of Joseph of Nazareth.

Because I will never forget what he did for my son and me, I live differently. My neighbors notice new compassion in my actions, more than I ever thought I could give. Now I am one in the throngs of people who cluster around him and hang on his words that pierce my heart. And I praise God day and night, for now I know Him.

Based on the story in Luke 7:11-17

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