“Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.”
Luke 7:11-15 NKJV
In the times surrounding the book of Luke, it was common that poor widows were to be looked after by their children, especially the male children. Before the church, widows who were alone had no support and were often very poor and forgotten.
When I read the passage this morning, I could sense the gravity of the situation the widow may have faced, taking her only son for burial, having no sense of what was to come because he was likely her only support. The future was dim, a future diminished by need, and perhaps filled with hunger and despair. I am sure the widow’s grief was further compounded.
But Jesus had a long game.
Knowing of the omnipresence, of God, that divine appointment was set from the foundation of the world. At the appointed time, she encountered Jesus, the coming resurrection and the life.
He had compassion on her and said “Do not weep.” He raised her son from the dead, and in turn, provided for her. He was Jehovah Jireh, provider God. For most of us it would be about the raising from the dead, that spectacular event, but there was deeper purpose, as Jesus restored the future of the widow and gave glimpse of the Kingdom of God.
God is master of the long game, the eternal game. We humans are short sighted, in that we seek short term solutions to problems, and frequently miss the long term implications.
In that moment, on that street, a large crowd was present to see a miracle of God manifest. I am sure that there were many who believed, and some who were simply entertained.
When I consider my own walk of faith, I find myself looking at the mere incidents from each passing day in a microcosm, isolated from any future ramifications that may emerge. When I look back to the Resurrection Sunday in 1998, I was not thinking of things to come, only the joy of the moment.
In the long game of my spiritual life, I have seen God do many things as I have grown in the faith and have sought to serve the Lord. I have seen how that Gospel message heard and received so long ago, has transformed my life from near suicidal sinner bound for hell, to maturing believer, soon to be glorified in heaven.
As Jesus provided for the widow in raising her son, He has provided for many through this dead son raised in newness of life. God took a selfish, obnoxious a******, and tranformed him into one who has brought blessing to family, to friends, and to people I will never meet. I will never know the true impact of what God did back in 1998 until I get to heaven.
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.”
I Timothy 1:15-16 NKJV
I struggled in sin for twenty seven years, but the Lord did not forget, and did not relent. He demonstrated His patience and longsuffering, and saved me from my sins.
Brothers and sisters, do not dwell on the things you may be seeing now, because you have no idea what God is doing behind the scenes, or what the true nature of His future plans may be.
Know that each situation that you endure, every blessing you get is not limited to the space and time of the moment, but resonates into the future. Even the words we use echo ahead in time, and have their effect down the road.
Take the time to tell of the goodness of God, of your testimony, of what God has done for you and through you since you said yes. In looking back at out lives, consider what God has done and let us cling to those things that are good.
Do not hold onto the bad, the dispicable, and sinful things of the past. Or the hurts that have been done to us. These only drag us down. Focus on what God is doing and what He will do.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14 NKJV
All the things we are going through and all the things we may endure in the future are all part of God’s plan and we know the end of the story.
“They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.”
Revelation 22:4-5 NKJV
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