Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, rise!’ The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has risen among us!’ and ‘God has looked favourably on his people!’ This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.
I can’t ever truly imagine how that mother must have felt. Not being a mother myself, I can’t begin to fathom the depths of despair and grief she must have been feeling at the traumatic death of her only son. Alongside her terrible agony was the harsh knowledge that she has nobody to help her and nobody she can love. She’s a widow, the wife of a dead husband, and now the mother of a dead son. There is surely no greater level of pain and tragedy she can possibly experience.
Into this bleak and despairing scenario steps Jesus. It’s possible that the grieving mother doesn’t even notice Him, although He does speak to her and try to provide comfort. There’s no record of any reply she might have given. Perhaps she’s in so much pain that she cannot respond to anything going on around her. And in a far less traumatic way, we’ve surely all been there. Sometimes we’re so lost in grief, pain or depression that we can’t see anything else but the darkness we’re trapped by.
But into that same darkness steps Jesus. He’s right with us always, meeting us at the point of our greatest need and He has the power to help us through it in whichever way is best for us. Yes, there might not be an immediate resurrection and restoration as there was in the case of this most blessed mother, but we can still trust that God’s love can make a way through our most terrible difficulties and bring us out into His glorious hope. Because, in God’s story, grief and pain are never the end.
Dear God, help us to open ourselves to You when we are at our most despairing and give us hope enough to trust in Your resurrection promises. Amen.