When You Just Can't Bring Cheerful
“As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out — the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’” Luke 7:12-13 (NIV)
I did something recently I’ve rarely done in the decades I’ve loved Jesus. I sat before Him, cried and told Him everything on my heart. Some of it wasn’t pretty, and some of it was confession of confusion mixed with anger toward Him.
For most of my life, I didn’t come to Jesus with raw honesty. I came to Him with my cheerful, or I didn’t come at all. I’d withdraw from Him until I could pull myself together. Slowly, over the years, I’ve realized how my wrong beliefs about God have kept me from some of His greatest gifts.
I believed that He only wanted me to come to Him feeling positive, so I missed out on His power.
I believed He only wanted me to come to Him happy, so I missed out on His healing.
I believed He only wanted me to come to Him contented, so I missed out on His compassion.
In the account in today’s key verse, I doubt the grieving mother could have mustered up any of those positive emotions to give to Jesus in the midst of her intense grief. Her husband and now her only son were dead. Even though a large crowd of mourners surrounded her, she must have felt desperately alone. Maybe she was even angry at God, not understanding why the two closest to her had died.
Often, I’ve skimmed over these stories without thinking about the humanity of the people in the accounts, but let’s think through this together. What funeral circumstances are particularly tragic to you? When the children are left without a mother? When the victim died too young? When against all rules of nature, a child dies before his parent?
That’s exactly what this crowd was feeling, so the mother must have been broken times 100. Maybe you’ve stood in her shoes.
Jesus tells her, “Don’t cry,” but not because He was disturbed by her grief. Our key verse from Luke 7:13 tells us, “His heart went out to her.” His heart was joined with hers, and He felt her grief. He met her emotions not with outrage or rebuke or harshness. He met them with kindness, gentleness and mercy.
Then He went to work to show His power and healing.
When we are bogged down in grief or doubt or fear, those negative emotions may seem so wrong to bring to God. But He doesn’t want us to muster up a pretty smile in order to approach Him. He wants us to bring those emotions to Him. He wants to join His heart with ours so He can help us and give us hope.
Do we experience a miracle or a resolution to our situation every time like this widow got to experience?
No. But in the presence of Jesus there is always healing.
That morning when I wept and ranted before Jesus, I didn’t feel His displeasure. I didn’t get struck by lightning. I didn’t get a sharp rebuke. Instead, I felt His love and mercy wash over me.
Even though I didn’t experience a change in my circumstances, my soul made a seismic shift from turmoil to peace. Jesus’ heart went out to me, and He gifted me with an inner healing.
Feeling sad, lonely, depressed or overwhelmed today? Working to wrestle fear and doubt to the ground? Our kind Savior’s heart goes out to you. Take it all to Him and experience His love and healing.
Father God, instead of trying to hide my true feelings from You, help me to trust You with them. I’m tired of trying to act like I’m OK in front of You when I really need Your healing and help. I surrender and receive. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Titus 3:4-5a, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (NIV)
Hosea 2:14, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her … and bring her into the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly and to her heart.” (AMPC)
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