“It happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow” (Luke 7:11, 12).

One of the most devastating events in life is the loss of a spouse. The Holmes and Rahe stress scale assigns 100 points to the death of a husband or wife. Sixty percent of people who lose a spouse will experience a serious illness within one year of that loss.

Around the world there are approximately 250 million women who are widowed and more than 115 million of them live in extreme poverty. The U.S. Social Security Administration reports that the rate of poverty among elderly widows is consistently three to four times higher than that of elderly married women. On average, about 75 percent of a survivor’s support base vanishes when a spouse dies. Seven in ten female widows in the United States live alone.

Jesus understands the plight of widows. The Scriptures are very sensitive to the needs of those who lose their spouse, especially women. Repeatedly the Bible gives guidance on the tender care for these wounded mothers and their children. “You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child” (Exodus 22:22).

It was natural that Christ’s attention would be drawn to the widow following the coffin of her only son out of the little town of Nain. His heart must have felt the pangs of sadness as the crowd of mourners moved toward Him. The loving heart of the Saviour could not help but stop the sorrowful group and, in the twinkling of an eye, turn the grieving heart of a widow into joy with the raising of her son from the dead.

What must have that mother and son talked about that evening before going to sleep? “Who was that Prophet who awakened me from death?” the young man may have asked. Perhaps the happy mother replied, “God has visited us. Tomorrow, when I find this Man, I will follow Him.”

Dear God, give me a tender heart for the widows and fatherless. Help me to touch their lives with hope.

For Further Study: Luke 7:11–17; Psalm 68:5; James 1:27

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