A Mother’s Gift

As he approached the town gate, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother (who was a widow), and a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and those who carried it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” So the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

Luke 7:12-15

Imagine the scene: a woman whose only son has died is following the procession down the street towards the burial place. She is surrounded by family members, friends, and members of her community, yet she is alone on her grief journey. Can you imagine the despair and shock she has experienced at the loss of her only child, a once young, vibrant man who had brought her happiness and filled her heart with the joy of motherhood. Her heart was broken, and her spirit was fractured by the seemingly unfair hand of God.

Jesus, who had been going about his business, came upon the grieving mother and her dead son. Scripture says, “When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her.” Jesus had seen and felt her pain. The biblical usage of the word “compassion” signifies “felt in his bowels,” –a deep heart-felt agony of love and sympathy. Jesus understood and felt the hopelessness and despair she felt. His deep compassion was not just as God in man, but also as a human son with a mother.

Jesus comforted the woman with kind words, a miraculous healing, and by raising her son from the dead. Luke, the writer included in the account, “Jesus gave him back to his mother” as a heartfelt reminder of Jesus’ compassion in performing the resurrection. The simple sentence speaks volumes on how much God loves moms (and dads)! Jesus feels the pain at the loss of a child, and He deeply grieves when mothers (and fathers) experience the horrible tragedy. This is my God. And this is your God.

Maybe this is you and your child has died. Like the mother, you may feel alone and in despair and shock. Your child, whether a toddler, teenager or adult, had a vibrant life filled with a hope and a future. Now, instead there is an empty cavern void of purpose and meaning. The grief is raw and unrelenting.

Bring your grief to Jesus. He is with you now, crying over your pain and feeling your despair.

Prayer: Oh Lord, comfort all the mothers and fathers who have lost their children. There is a hole in their heart and a fracture in their spirit. Bind up their wounds and give them hope and strength for tomorrow, one day at a time. Amen (Psalm 147:3; Romans 15:3)

Suggested Reflections

  • Read the entire account of the woman’s story in Luke 7:11-15. Write down thoughts/feelings you have when you read the passage.
  • Write a letter or record an audio/video addressed to Jesus. Feel free to start from the beginning and provide an account of the circumstances that lead to the death of your child up to today.
  • Tell Jesus your feelings, your anger, and include the unfairness. He will not be shocked and you will not disappoint Him. If you struggle with sharing your feelings with God, do a word search for “tears” in the book of Psalms. Then write out your feelings mirroring those recorded by the writers.

Resources

A Sacred Sorrow: Reaching out to God in the Lost Language of Lament by Michael Card. Read my book review here.

Steven Curtis Chapman’s interview about the accidental death of his daughter on ABC news

Steven Curtis Chapman’s amazing song after the death of his daughter Heaven is the The Face.

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