We’ve all seen the destruction of a collapsed building, the fallout from an earthquake, the devastation of a hurricane or tornado. Debris and chaos lead to thoughts of wondering how they will rebuild. After a natural disaster, teams of people and equipment pour into locations, and leaders take charge searching for survivors, digging people out of rubble, reinforcing structural integrity where possible, and handing out much needed refreshment. This continues until the job is finished. Although the teams may be smaller as time goes by, there are still teams working and helping. The devastated community is never left to it’s own defenses, alone. It’s an inspiring and encouraging example of love and ministry to behold.
A widow experiences the same type of personal life devastation when their spouse dies. Whether there was a sickness that preceded for a few months or a few years, or death came suddenly and unexpectedly, once death occurs, the life crumbles. On top of them. All around them.
This pile of rubble? Yeah, the widow is underneath it. Choking in the dust and fumes. Eyes filled with grit and debris. Head swimming from the massive blow. Disoriented. Wounded. And alone.
Don’t get me wrong, the community of family and friends swarm in to do immediate damage control. Meals. House cleaning. Prepare a service. Cards. Throughout the course of the first year, many stop by and check in. But by and large, that mountain of rubble atop the widow remains.
Why? Because no one wants to overstep or offend. And, honestly, everyone has busy lives and stuff to do. But at the same time, after a year or two or five, the community and friends and family are looking on and wondering why exactly the widow is still struggling to “move on.”
Well, because a widow doesn’t “move on,” a widow moves forward. And when a widow has a mountain of rubble from under which to dig, it’s slow moving.
So, at the risk of offending the masses, if you’re going to stand on the top of that rubble heap and call down to the widow, “Let me know if you need anything!” and nod and smile before marching back into your life, don’t wonder why it’s such a slow forward progress for the widow. After all, you see the heap above and all around her, she sees what’s pressing in directly on top of her. You may actually have a better vantage for what help is needed than she.
I’m going to suggest something radical here, friends. Perhaps it’s time we, as a culture, stop waiting to be told what to do, and started listening to that still small voice within that’s nudging us toward a certain help, direction, or action. Perhaps it’s time we risk being offended in order to offer the love and support that is needed, and we so very much want to give. Perhaps, my friends, it’s time to arise and move; it’s time to dive in.
Do you see a rock on that heap that you can move? Move it! Do you hear the hissing of a gas leak? Cap it! That widow at the bottom of that heap CANNOT DO THOSE THINGS FROM UNDERNEATH! Stop asking her! Stop expecting her to know the answers to problems she can’t see or reach. And when she does see a need and ask for help, for the love of all things, run, don’t walk, run in and help. When she finally sees the light of day as she climbs out of the pile, she will also see the shining faces of those who stuck around through the tough stage of clean up and know who who she can count on for the help needed when she sees it. It’s amazing how much now better we can see without the oppressive weight of all that rubble.
James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” It’s time to define what a widow’s distress looks like in the various stages of widowhood so we can debunk the pitfalls that keep us from diving in to help.
God is calling you to step in. Be listening for the how. Neither He, nor the widow, is going to yell to be heard.
You have the opportunity to make a huge difference in the lives around you and help clean up some rubble. #Liveyourfaithboldly my friends and Dive In!