I was a single mother for long stretches of time as my children were growing up. I went through the struggles of loneliness, the weight of making decisions on your own, the dilemma of child care, wondering where you will get money for Christmas presents, and the non-stop process of balancing time with your children, work, and some sort of social life.
I’ve been there, but I didn’t have what you dear, sweet Christian single moms have: the vast fountain of support and supply in Jesus. God, in his providence, hadn’t saved me yet. That great transformation took place after my children had left home: one to college and one to the army.
I could tell you all the things not to do. I could make lists upon lists. But, that is not the point of my conversation with you today.
Today, I want to encourage you in the one who loves you beyond belief. He is the one who sent his only Son to die for you. Before the sun ever rose on your life he loved you.
In Luke 7, there is an account of Jesus arriving in a small town in Galilee called Nain, which means beauty and what Jesus did there was incredibly beautiful, not only for a single mom, but for the people who witnessed it, and for us today who gain strength and courage from its retelling.
Jesus was coming from Capernaum where he had healed a centurion’s servant from a distance and some of those folks who had witnessed this were traveling with him along with his disciples.
As Jesus drew near the town gate, he witnessed a funeral procession. Men were carrying an open casket that held a young man. Luke tells us he was, “the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.”
This is a desperate funeral. This grieving mother is already without the support of a husband, and now her only son is dead. In the culture this single mom lived in that could mean financial disaster.
The casket is followed by his mom and a crowd of town people. All mourning, grieving not only for the son, but also for his mother.
My throat tightens, and tears start to form when I read verse 13. Jesus sees death and all the pain and suffering it brings and he has compassion on this single mom and says to her, “Do not weep,” and touches the casket which causes the men carrying it to stop. So, the whole procession stops.
Can’t you feel the tension in this scene? Crying, mourning, their heads down, headed for the tombs, this grieving group is halted by an ordinary looking man followed by a crowd of ordinary people. He approaches the single mom who can barely put one foot in front of the other her pain is so great and he looks her in the eyes and says, “Do not weep”. I am breathless when I think about what that look must have conveyed.
Was there time for the mourners to become confused? Did they start to grumble? “Who is this guy who stopped the funeral?” “He’s made himself unclean!” “How dare he?”
Jesus ignored the crowd. He didn’t worry about being unclean, because he knew the dead was about to live. Luke tells us Jesus went straight from the single mom to the casket and touched it, stopping it, and said to the corpse, “Young man, I say to you, arise”.
“I say to you.” The great I Am, the life-giver, the redeemer, the God of your fathers, say to you live.
The corpse sat up. The dead-man-come-to-life started speaking to authenticate the miracle. Don’t you wish sometimes that the Holy Spirit had put in more detail? What in the world was this young man saying? I will leave that to your holy imagination.
Not left to our imagination is what happened next. Put yourself back in the scene. Boundless joy must have been replacing stunned shock, as Jesus brought the son to his mother. Can’t you see the smile on Jesus’ face? I can see him embracing them both and they turning to the one who gives life, embracing him.
Luke finishes this episode in Jesus’ life with saying fear seized all the onlookers and they started glorifying God and calling Jesus a great prophet. God had visited them: this small village in Galilee, this son taken before his time, this grieving single mom.
The Nain single mom hadn’t gone to Jesus. She hadn’t sought him out and begged him to perform a miracle as the centurion in the verses before had done. No, Jesus came to her.
So, my word to you today, single mom, is Jesus sees you. If you are his, he has your welfare as his foremost concern. He knows your struggles, your pain, your doubts, your needs. He will come to you and have compassion on you. Rest in this. Lay your burdens down at his feet.
Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).