The Loss of a Child and the Perpetual Comfort of Nain
There is a pain unimaginable to some . . . yet brutal reality for others. The wound? The one inflicted by the agonizing loss of a child.
We grapple for comforting words, struck dumb for a response. Offering an attentive ear is likely better. Our silent presence often proves preferable.
It’s then we need to see Jesus. Hear Jesus. Examine His every move in the face of death. Cling to His every word.
Look upon Jesus. Savior. The One Who demonstrated His sovereignty over all of life and death. Hear in His Words compassion, comfort . . . power.
Soon afterward Jesus went with his disciples to the village of Nain, and a large crowd followed him. A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother (Luke 7:11-15).
See Him standing there. Compassion brimming in His eyes. Deliverance in His touch. Authority in His voice. Life in His command. That comfort and confidence in His words? They’re ours for the sharing. As are other God-words from the pen of the apostle Paul:
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him (1 Thess. 4:13-14).
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t grieve loss. It’s okay to grieve. And it’s certainly honorable to grieve when others grieve (Romans 12:15). But not as those without hope. Because we are the informed. The endowed. We possess the truth that God will bring back believers who have died in Christ when He comes. Hearts, overflowing with the Lord’s compassion, are to encourage one another with these very words (1 Thess. 4:18).
When we were separate from Christ, we were without hope. But now we have a hope beyond this life. We, who have borne the image of the earthly man, shall bear the image of the Heavenly One (1 Cor. 15:49). And “when the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’” (1 Cor. 15:54). If this were not true, and Jesus had not been raised, then our faith would be useless, futile. And we are to be pitied above all (1 Cor. 15:17-19). Oh, but Christian, it is gloriously true! And imperative that we realize with Paul that the gospel is of first importance (1 Cor 15:3).
That remarkable day, Jesus revealed His heart toward the grieving widow. The dead was raised. Life restored. God glorified. And by proving the reality of the resurrection, Jesus armed His disciples with comfort to share in the face of grief. His comforting words bestowed in Nain resound—they echo across time and geography with every disciple’s refrain. May God be praised and Jesus glorified as we perpetuate that hope in just such a reality.
(For more from Debbra, visit her blog at debbrastephens.com.)