Widows and widowers are special to the heart of God
Recently I received a phone call from a woman whose world was suddenly turned upside down.
“Kathleen, this is Susie,” she stated. “I need your help.” she continued.
“Susie, is everything okay?” I asked. “No, Bill is dead. He was traveling and I received a phone call that he collapsed and he is gone,” she said in a state of shock.
“No!” I responded with a loud voice. I did not want anyone to experience the pain I had experienced as a widow.
Since that day when my friend called for help, I have had numerous other acquaintances that have lost their mate. I hate it for all of them and my heart is tender towards them.
None of us have any guarantees in life. Bad things happen to good people and it is in our broken places, that God’s love, grace and hope peeks in to see us through the pain of life. In the mean time, we all have our place in history.
For some of us, it is to push through with all we have in us to live life again. For others, we have a mandate that are the basics of Christianity to help those that are in distress or hurting.
If you have lost a mate and are a widow or widower, take heart. There are some wonderful promises in scripture. If you have not, you have a wonderful opportunity to practice the basics of Christianity, “look after the fatherless and the widow in their distress.” James 1:27 (NIV)
Widows and widowers are dear to the heart of God. It is easy to feel alone, lonely, and wonder where you fit, now that you are no longer married. All these feelings are natural as part of you, is now gone. Scripture says that when we marry, we become one; therefore, when a mate leaves this earth, part of you is missing. The unwanted journey of discovering who you are now without your mate, your place in society as a single person, begins.
In my own three year journey as a widow, several scriptures became very special in that season.
Psalms 68:5 proclaims God’s character and says, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing.” (NIV) The basic nature of God is compassion for those that find themselves in ashes.
God’s heart is tender for those that are fatherless, and for many children, they are fatherless for a variety of reasons; abandonment, prison, addiction, just to name a few. God will defend the widow and be a daddy to the fatherless and He cares for those that are lonely.
I have personally seen how God has defended me in situations when I did not have a husband to protect me and look out for my best interest. Knowing I had a special place in the heart of God gave great comfort.
Another passage that is a favorite of mine is Psalms 146:9, which says, “The Lord watches over the alien, and sustains the fatherless and widow...” (NIV)
When I first read this passage, I looked up the word sustain to find out it’s meaning. Sustain means to prolong, keep up, strengthen or support physically or mentally. There were times I did not think I could make it, having the responsibility of everything all alone after 30 years of sharing everything with a partner. It was not that I could not do tasks that my husband did, for me it was balancing everything alone from work, single parenting, finances, caring for my elderly parents, the house, the yard and the trash, etc. I just wanted the trash fairy would drop by my house and take the trash out! Sometimes, a kind neighbor will bring my trash cans back to my house and those acts of kindness showed me God’s provision and how He sustained me.
Isaiah 1:17 is another promise and reflection of the heart of God. It states, “Seek justice, encourage the oppressed, Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (NIV) Again we see what God has to say about what is important to Him. If it is important to God, it should be important to me.
If you are widowed, you can hang on to how special you are to the heart of God. There were many times I have prayed and asked God to send someone to plead my case and help me.
I had a situation when my dryer broke and was having to go through a lot of red tape to get it fixed, as it was under warranty. I asked God for help and the assistant to the president of the company, over saw my case and came to my defense after weeks of waiting. Ask God to raise up those that will defend you.
Being a retirement community, there are plenty that need us to fight for, defend and plead their case. How about you? Do you encourage those that are oppressed by sin, discouraged by circumstances, do what is right in business, help the child whose dad is in prison or parent has abandoned them thru divorce or death? Do you help the widow in your neighborhood or church? Have you even asked what you might do to help in some way?
Exodus 22:22 is another reflection of God’s heart. It proclaims, “Do not take advantage of a widow or orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused and I will kill you.” (NIV) It is a good thing we live by grace and not law anymore! This scripture shows us that God hears the cry of the orphan and the widow. His heart is particularly soft towards them and is a just God. He does not tolerate treating them unjustly.
James 1:27 gets right to the point about what is important in our Christian walk. It says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after the orphans and widows in their distress...” (NIV) It is just that simple.
Sometimes in our busy world, we forget to to the basics of life. We can get caught up in all our ministry goals, busy lives, bible studies, committees etc. and forget what God says is pure and what is right.
Do you need to help in your church or neighborhood? Is there a foster child, a child without a mom or dad, a widow or widower that needs you to include him or her in your lunch or holiday plans? It is something to think about. Looking after these that are right outside our back door is important.
Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life and life to the full.” If you are a widow or widower, you have a God given right to live life to the full again. Starting over isn’t easy but God is right there, to help and guide.
My late husband has been gone eight years now and I remarried five years ago. I have a full and fun life but will never forget the kindness of God and people during my three hard years of being a widow. I am forever grateful for all I learned in that season of my life.
We are very blessed to have plenty of opportunities to practice the heart of God to the orphans and widows that are down the street, around the corner, in places of business and church. Look around and let’s get busy in the mission field God has placed before us. Will you join me?
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie will be speaking Tuesday, January 23rd from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Dietert Center on “Thriving through seasons of grief” You can register for the class by calling 830.792.4044 or at www.clubed.net