Wednesday, June 15, 2022

God's Compassion for Widows


 God knows that widows are in need of support and so He created a specific category for them, spoken of often in the Scriptures. Sadly, the loss of a husband in ancient Israel was often a social and economic tragedy. Whenever that occurred, the widow was left in a very vulnerable position. She became the prime target for exploitation. God knew this and He stated that He was not only the father to the orphan, but the legal defender of the widow (Psalm 68:5). We meet several widows in the New Testament. It wasn’t just chance that Anna, a widow who lived in the temple, was the first to greet our Messiah, Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus himself protested the exploitation of widows.  “Yet, they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be more severely punished (Mark 12:40). The early church defined the essence of true religion as demonstrating compassion to the poor and needy, and the orphans and widows are mentioned in particular. Widows have the eyes and heart of God Himself.

A New Testament widow who comes to mind is the woman who Luke refers to simply as a
widow. Since she was from Nain, she is commonly called, “The widow of Nain.” When Jesus came to the city gate of Nain, he saw the funeral procession and the immense grief that gripped the mother over the death of her only son. No one called on Jesus to raise the boy from the dead, but out of compassion Jesus walked over to the bier, took the young boy by the hand and told him to get up…and he did. This widow was undoubtedly overjoyed to have her

son restored to her. But keep in mind that her way of life was literally reversed. Without a son, she had no rights to her husband’s property and she could easily have been reduced to a social outcast in the community. Having sons was as important as having a husband in those days, especially so for a widow. Jesus’ compassion for her was such that He gave her back, not only her son, but her dignity and standing in the community. Jesus is concerned with every single detail of our lives.

 Thankfully, laws regarding women’s rights have radically changed in most parts of the world since biblical days. Yet, the broken heart, the grieved spirit, the loneliness and total
rearrangement of one’s life is still a part of a widow’s lot. Being a widow changes the way 

society views the woman as well. The oft quoted phrase, “The more things change, the more they remain the same,” is true for widowhood. Widows are still vulnerable to unscrupulous 
business proprietors, less-than-good-intentioned men, not to mention jealous and suspicious wives. Widows have to learn a new identity and are often excluded from social events because they are no longer a part of a “couple.” Many times their incomes are lessened with their husband’s death and forced frugality becomes a way of life. I’ve witnessed much of this up close through the widowhood of family members and close friends. In fact, my husband and I drove several hundred miles this past winter to spend time with a family member who is still grieving the death of her husband and learning to navigate life without her partner.

The theme verse of Friends Needing Friends is as true now as when St. Paul wrote it hundreds of years ago.

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (II Corinthians 1:3-4). 

Our compassionate heavenly Father is eager to comfort you in everything you go through. But He does so for the very reason that He wants you to then turn and comfort others. Those two words, “so that” are very important. You are now commissioned to be His hands and feet of comfort and cheer to others because of His comfort to you. Don’t limit yourself to just widows. There’s so many areas of need in our world. Your local church usually makes needs known to the congregation and regularly makes known those in the hospital or suffering in some way. Ask God how you can alleviate someone else’s pain and you’ll be
amazed at how you will notice that your own pain is decreasing.

 For 34 years this is exactly what Friends Needing Friends has been doing. That’s right. This month marks the 34th anniversary of Friends Needing Friends  and I thank God for this great ministry to widows.

Have a blessed month as we go into the summer season.

Message by Shari Hervold


This video "Through It All" by Andrae Crouch. 
 I don't own any rights for this song. It's for entertainment and worship purpose only.