Updated: Sep 30, 2019
As I listened to this story in prayer, I first thought of the widow who had just lost her only means of support and the tremendous sense not only of loss but uncertainty about her future she must have felt. What joy and what terror she must have felt when her son came back to life. Joy at the restoration of that which was lost but also terror at the power and mystery displayed when the dead rise.
My thoughts in prayer soon turned to Jesus. This woman had lost her only son and soon the only Son of God would be killed on a cross. Did he feel for the woman because he knew that Mary would soon be grieving him? As part of the Trinity, did Jesus feel the Father's loss at knowing the path that His Son would take? Jesus was moved with compassion which in Greek means a twisting of the gut. When he looked at the woman, did he not only see himself and his family but God weeping for Israel who seemed to be dead in their faith? In prayer, God often calls us to look beyond our first impressions.
Thinking about Jesus and the woman, my prayer soon turned to all of those who were not at the right place at the right time. There were mother's who were burying their children all over Israel at that moment and yet this woman was blessed to be the one who was walking by Jesus. Why raise this man when there were so many equally desperate situations? The joy of the woman and the deeper spiritual meaning for Jesus are soon replaced by past scenes at hospitals and funeral homes where the question is asked, "Why her and not me?"
When you pray the scriptures, God has a way of bringing you back to the now. I have not witnessed any resurrections but I have witnessed God's comforting hand of compassion in the midst of deep grief. I believe that Jesus never walks by our pain and suffering. Jesus always stops but may not always intervene. There may be a reason for events that will always remain a mystery this side of the veil. There are other events where evil appears to triumph and reason gives way to the free will of a sinful and lost people. Even in these moments, Jesus is still with us crying not only for our pain but for the pain of a corrupt creation that has manifested such evil. There is no good answer for "Why her and not me". By faith, what we do know is that Jesus has not passed us by and that God suffers with us even if our pain blinds us to His grace.