When It Comes to Grief and Crisis, Jesus Has ‘Been There, Done That’

By Babbie Mason Published on July 6, 2024

As Jesus was approaching the city of Nain, He met a funeral procession. Most of us have experienced the loss of a loved one, and it’s a sad affair. Here in the South, when a funeral procession is approaching on the street, all the drivers on the road pull over to the side to allow the procession to pass by uninterrupted out of respect for the dead. In that moment, everyone can feel the weight of pain and discouragement for the families and friends who have lost a loved one.

The pain of the widow of Nain was fresh. In this case, the deceased young man was her only child. And we know he had died that day because according to Deuteronomy 21:23 and Acts 5:5–10, a corpse had to be buried the same day. This woman was now all alone. With no more hope, she could look forward only to financial ruin, starvation, and death. (Remember the stories of Naomi in the book of Ruth and the woman from Zarephath in 1 Kings 17:8–16? Those widows found themselves in similar circumstances.)

At just the right moment, when the pallbearers were carrying the young man’s body to the graveyard, Jesus met the widowed mother. The Bible says that Jesus had compassion on her and told her not to cry (Luke 7:13).

This is what I love about Jesus. He is not an observer. He doesn’t stand idly by, spectating. He doesn’t wait for somebody to make the first move. Instead, He immediately got involved and stepped in to comfort the widowed mother.

We can also be the first to notice the good things people do and encourage them to continue doing good.

Today, we hear a lot about the word engaged. This is a word of comfort to us. When we are in pain, Jesus takes notice and becomes fully involved. We are always on His radar. Jesus saw the woman following behind her dead son’s coffin. He saw that the woman’s face was streaked with tears. He sensed her grief-stricken heart and her broken spirit. He sympathized with her desperation and her imminent crisis. What did Jesus do? He met her need by comforting her.

Imagine Jesus as He took this widowed woman by the hands to express His condolences for her loss. Having buried both of my parents, and having experienced the pain of that deep grief, just imagining this show of empathy is enough to bring me to tears. I know personally that the pain of grief is real. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one can understand that you never really recover from certain losses. You can get through it, but you never get over it. Can you relate?

Jesus Comes Alongside

Our precious Lord, Jesus, can. He understands this kind of grief and loss. Isaiah 53:3 tells us that Jesus “was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief” (NLT). The Bible tells us that Jesus not only bore our sins but also carried our sorrows to the cross. Jesus carried the weight of the whole world on His shoulders.

Take comfort, dear one. If life has caused you pain and grief, Jesus knows all about it. And He cares. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus feels our pain and frailties: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin” (NIV).

Let’s put it in today’s vocabulary: “Jesus has been there.” And because He has been there, He touches broken lives and ruined dreams at the point of our deepest pain. He wasn’t concerned with ceremonial uncleanness but walked up and touched a dead man’s coffin.

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We must see the account of the widow as more than just a Sunday school lesson. This story is real. And it’s probably real to you in one sense or another. When you read about the miracles of Jesus, you will see people at a point of desperation. He gave sight to the blind. He touched and healed the leper. He raised Lazarus from the dead. He healed the woman who had been sick for twelve years with a blood disorder. He delivered a man possessed by evil spirits. He calmed a furious storm on the Sea of Galilee. And to meet a sinful world’s greatest need, Jesus conquered death.

To Jesus, no one is less than. He treats us all equally, and He treats us all with dignity. As a woman, I know what it’s like to be devalued and overlooked. As a Black woman, I know the sting of racism and prejudice. As a woman in ministry, I have felt disdain and condescension from men who considered me inferior and patronized me. Maybe you have been there too. If you have, Jesus lifts us up from our low position and raises us up above our circumstances to a place of victory.

Shine Your Light in a Broken World

You may have heard the old saying that God helps those who help themselves. That may be true in some situations, but there are many more examples of God helping those who are completely helpless. He loves to help the weak, and He gives strength to those who have none. Jesus encourages us when we are worn to a frazzle, disappointed by loved ones, and betrayed by those we thought we could trust. Here’s the long and short of it: God is a God of miracles. He parts the seas, He feeds multitudes, and He lifts up those who are too weak to help themselves — and He uses people to do it.

That means we have to be available to serve others. Jesus is not a long-distance God. He is a friend who “sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24). Therefore, we need to do everything we can to come alongside people in a warm, personal, and friendly way, pushing back against a culture of distancing and online isolation.

We can also be the first to notice the good things people do and encourage them to continue doing good. First Thessalonians reminds us to speak words that uplift others: “So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it” (5:11 MSG).

Shine your light in a broken world. It will make a difference.

 

Two-time Dove Award–winner Babbie Mason is a Grammy nominated recording artist and songwriter, and the television host of Babbie’s House. She is the author of numerous books and Bible studies; Each One Reach One: Everyday Ways You Can Shine God’s Light (Reflecting Matthew 5:16) releases from David C Cook on August 6.

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