Summary: Jesus reaches out to us saying, “Don’t cry. It really will be alright,” and if we are willing-- if our eyes are open to God’s never ending presence among us, if we look for Him in the dim and mist of our confusion, hurt and pain--we will see that He is ri
“God is with Us”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
What is it that you most dread in this upcoming week, month or year?
Maybe it’s something that you know is going to happen, like a traumatic move to a new house, school, job or city.
Or maybe it’s something you are always afraid of…
…a sudden accident or illness…
…or a scandal.
Come into the middle of the situation, if you can, in prayer.
Feel its sorrow and frustration, its bitterness and anger.
Imagine the loneliness of it.
…The feeling of hopelessness…
…The doom and gloom…
…The weight of depression and desperation.
Then watch as Jesus comes to join you in the middle of it.
Take time in prayer and let Him approach, speak, touch, command.
He may not say what you expect.
He may not do what you want.
But if His presence comes to be with you there that is what you need most.
Once Jesus is in the middle of it all with you, you will be able to come through it…
…and end up, perhaps, even better than you were before whatever it was fell down around you!
When I was a kid I used to watch a popular t-v show called The Six Million Dollar Man.
Some people refer to him as the bionic man.
The show always opened with the same words…
“Steve Austin, man barely alive. We can rebuild him.
We have the technology to make him better, faster, stronger than he ever was before.”
Perhaps you feel as if you are “barely alive” this morning.
Or maybe you will find yourself in this predicament sometime in the future.
It can be a frightening thought.
But the Good News of the Christian faith is this: Jesus is more than able to take the broken pieces of your life, and remake you into a stronger, more courageous, joy-filled, peace-filled, and faith-filled person than you ever were before!
Keep that in mind.
Meditate on it.
Remember it when the storms rage and the difficulties of this life threaten your very being and ability to cope.
There have been several times in my life when I felt that I had hit “rock bottom.”
During one brief period I even owned a tee-shirt shop by that name.
But you know what I have found in the dreary darkness of the pit?
Jesus is there!!!
And if Jesus is there, there is hope!
There is salvation.
There is new life!!!
There is excitement.
There is peace and there is joy!!!
There is no darkness too great; there is no crisis too big for our Savior!!!
For God does, indeed, raise the dead!!!
Imagine the distress of the widow in our Gospel Lesson for this morning.
Her husband had died, and now…
…all that she had left, her only son, was being carried out of town in a coffin.
Come inside the story and allow its force to sweep over you.
Walk in the crowd a few paces behind the coffin and the widow.
It’s a hot day in Galilee, and the bright sun sparkles on the tears which are streaming down the poor mother’s face.
People are coming along with spices to anoint the body.
The family burial plot will be a little way outside of town: probably a small cave in the side of a hill, where the husband and father had been buried some time before.
That’s where the procession is going.
Then, quite suddenly, some strangers arrive; a man leading a small group of followers.
He is looking at the widow and now doubly devastated mother, and something inside Him is stirring.
As we are told in Luke, “his heart went out to her and He said, ‘Don’t cry.’”
And then, to everyone’s surprise and horror, He touches the coffin.
Nobody does that…
…except the official pall-bearers.
Touching a corpse or a coffin or even the pall-bearers would make you unclean!!!
Then, the biggest shock of all—He tells the dead person, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”
And then, lo and behold, “The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.”
At this, the whole funeral procession goes wild with astonishment, delight, and awe.
And they “praised God.”
And with inner conviction, ladled with a new hope and outlook on life, they proclaimed, “God has come to help his people.”
And, “This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.”
It’s interesting to note, in this passage…
…that there seems to be something missing.
For example, in the passage before this one, the centurion’s servant was healed because of his owner’s faith.
Likewise, in so many of the healing stories of Jesus, He says things such as, “your faith has healed you,” or “Don’t be afraid, just believe, and she will be healed.”