Yesterday morning I woke up at 8am even though I had gone to bed late around 1:30. And I could have slept in but the thought that I wanted to have alone time with God before T. woke up, came to me like a light bulb that had turned on. Ding! So I got out of bed, put on my pink sweater I only wear around the house and my furry lavender socks, and went to my qt spot where I opened up my Bible to where I had left off in Luke. It had only been a couple minutes when I started to weep while reading a story. It was a short story, and I couldn’t understand why I was crying. I thought of my pastor who had shared just a few days ago that he had started crying when reading a seemingly mundane part of a story too. He was sobbing and asked God why this was happening. And God took him to the scene of the story where he could look closely at the heart of the character, Saul. Then it became clear why he was crying and what God was saying to him. This is the verse my pastor read that caused him to weep:
The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. -Acts 9:11
Now when he pointed out that verse to us, I was confused and incredibly curious. Why had that verse made him cry? It didn’t move me at all, and to me seemed a mere detail of the larger miracle of the story which was his conversion. My pastor explained that he saw Saul lying on a bed, completely weak (for he was fasting) and unable to do anything (for he was blind and had been commanded by God to wait). And the Word says that he was praying. What was he praying about, my pastor asked God. And it hit him.. that Saul was confused and lost. Because Saul had fiercely loved God and had even tried to protect his faith by persecuting the people he thought were defaming the name of God by preaching Christ as savior; yet he had just been struck blind by God who said that he was persecuting Him, the very One he loved! My pastor saw himself in Saul, lying on the bed and whimpering a prayer of fear that he had gone the wrong direction. But God firmly told him, As long you love Me, it doesn’t matter what direction you go. I will always lead you back to the right direction, just as I did with Paul. Just continue to love Me and all will be well!
This is the verse that made me burst out crying:
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. 13When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” -Luke 7:12-13
As I was crying I couldn’t even pray straight; I just felt a gnawing deep in my heart and was completely confused. I read the story a number of times–Jesus was on his way to heal a sick girl, with a crowd of people following him to witness this miracle. But as he was entering the town, another sort of procession was leaving the town. Many people were walking with this widow whose only son had died and were carrying his body. Jesus took notice of them and “his heart went out to her.” He could have just observed with silent respect and moved on to complete the job asked of him, but he stopped to really see this woman, her situation, her sorrow and told her not to cry. And his comforting didn’t end there; he raised her son back to life and gave him back to her. Wow.
I couldn’t figure out what God was trying to tell me, so I just continued to read and kind of forgot about it. But then later I remembered and knew I had to figure it out, that it was something important and personal. Squinting my eyes, I thought, Was it because last night I had received another prophecy from someone about a call to counsel? And so He’s giving me more compassion? No, that’s not it . . . I thought how my pastor had cried because he eventually realized that he identified with Saul. So I’m the widow, I asked. No, I shook my head. But then God pressed my heart and that no, became a yes. Yes? I put myself in the shoes of the widow, and God took me to the scene. Suddenly, I got it. The loved ones walking with the widow, supporting her, comforting her with their presence during a time of grief. I recognize that. The loss of her first and only child. I know that. I mean, I can’t imagine her grief of having lost a son who had grown into a young man, but I can relate with the loss of her dreams for him. Though the baby had barely formed inside me, for three months I had dreamed for this child and felt my body giving him life. It was my only experience of motherhood, and it was so brief. God was telling me through Scripture that He had seen my tears and that His heart had gone out to me, but that there’s no reason to worry or lose hope because He’s given me a promise. Just as Jesus had restored the son’s life and gave him back to the widow, He will give us a child. It says in the Bible that when we ask God for bread, He does not give us a stone but what we ask for, and more. Over these past six months I’d been healed and knew in my heart that we’d have children, but there was still a small part of me that doubted and wondered.
For by grace, I’ve been saved, through faith. It is the gift of God.