Who is the Widow?

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I am at a loss for words, with acts of terror and crime and hatred and so much bad.  Evil seeks to devour the good. A couple of days ago, I came across these words written by C. S. Lewis in The Great Divorce:

“Here is joy that cannot be shaken. Our light can swallow up your darkness: but your darkness cannot now infect our light.”

How true. No matter how much evil persists and seeks to devour and snuff out what is good, it simply cannot.

There is a tussle among us— even those who profess to love Christ. We long to love those needy among us, yet are filled with fear. Both sides feel the struggle, the pull, and just leaving politics aside—we all want to be safe. We do not want to entertain the thought of allowing a person through our doors who intends to cause harm. Of course, why would we knowingly do such a thing?

Yet why would we knowingly turn our eyes away from the need and fear of the homeless, the country-less, the foreigner, and those alone?

I don’t have the answers but I grieve for those who are genuinely trying to escape tyranny and death, and just to live life in safety and peace.

I read an article yesterday that highlighted the stories of three women who escaped Syria, their predicament, how they escaped difficult circumstances, and how they are surviving now. These are only three stories, but there are thousands more. With refugees pouring out of their homelands, seeking shelter away from terror, we will begin to hear, in the coming weeks, months, and years, more and more stories: stories of not only fear and death, but  I believe, also stories of some miracles, too.

I cannot imagine what it must be like, as these young women, to live alone in a foreign country. They have no country of their own anymore. They must forge a new identity, a new life- all alone— even a new name. They left their families behind to escape horrific conditions for a better life, and now they must learn a new language and start again. But there is at least that hope, to have a new start. Many refugees say they would not return to their home countries even if it is safe- because there is nothing to return to.

God has compassion on them, some of whom are actual “widows”- widows of men who completed suicide missions.

A few years ago, a friend of mine was traveling overseas alone with her young children on a trip to see family. She was afraid and intimidated to journey alone with her young children and her luggage.  Her husband was not able to travel with her, so also felt limited by her English (she is from Asia and English is not her first language).

At the time, she received a comforting word from God that He would look after her, for while she was alone, He saw her as a “widow” and her children as “fatherless”. It was a new idea to me — it expanded my ideas regarding the definition of the words “widow” and “fatherless”, into new territory.

God reminded me of those in my own circle who are like the widow: I know three women who are divorced or going through a divorce right now, some in very difficult circumstances. All of them have young children. This is the needy, the “widow”, living near me.

Whether that time alone is short and temporary (such as on a journey), or long and difficult (because of divorce, death, etc.), God sees the need and has compassion.

But, God takes it even further, for those who are not widows, widowers, refugees, or finding themselves alone, because though these groups may not exactly consider themselves to be such literally, there is a sense in which we are all orphans and fatherless, because we were separated from God.  But God’s promises are “yes and amen”, and he sent Christ for us, to assure us He adopts us, and we receive a heavenly inheritance, just as He promises his own son.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.   1 Thess. 5:18

He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. Deut. 18:18

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,  is God in his holy dwelling.  Psalm 68:5

I am thankful to have such a God that comes to us in the humble form of Jesus, not a stiff-necked idol, but one who was human and dwelt here on earth. I am thankful God has compassion on the world, those who are in great need, those who suffer, and all of us, His creation.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!    ~Isaiah 30:18

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