The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 1 Timothy 5:4-5 (NIV).
In our world, even one slip-up can be devastating. It only takes a single one-night-stand to get a disease. It only takes one rejection to have your hopes and dreams dashed during a vulnerable time. The world is a tough place and jumping out into it is even tougher. Keep our eyes on God and not the world around us. Is this blog-post going to be full of platitudes and bland aphorisms? No; I don’t like those either beyond them being reminders of truths we need to hear. Yet there are things in those platitudes that matter because people are in real need all around us.
Losing someone you love is the most devastating thing on earth. We can deal with almost anything but when the person on whom we rely most is gone, our entire foundation is destroyed. “I can’t imagine losing your spouse and not having faith.” My mom said those words to me about a year after my Dad died. Mom had faith and was still the most independent-minded person I’ve ever known. And while I don’t think she spent night and day praying and asking God for help, in her own way and time she did those things. She told me that she prayed and talked with God when she was alone until, one day, she had the thought “Grace, you can do this.” That was after about six months in the fog of grief. And, for her, that was the start of getting better, of knowing that God had given her all she needed to keep moving forward in life. She did for another 16 years.
In Ephesians, Paul reminds us to honor our parents. That can be extended to assume he’s telling us to honor both our parents and our other forbears and elders. Then, in Romans, he reminds us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we may know the will of God. I’ve never been completely alone, even during the times when it felt that way. And I have dived deep into living for pleasure and gotten out of it worse. In all these cases, it’s because I didn’t extend honor, either to God or to anyone involved. I strayed from working to let God renew my heart and mind, and I’m not even a widow.
Imagine how much worse off things could have been if I had just lost my spouse. In that light, Paul’s exhortations are common-sense Godly advice.
For further reading: Ephesians 6:1-2, Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 3:5, 1 Timothy 5:6.
Lord, help me to give honor to my elders, to live for You in all I do today.