Isaiah 1:17, Psalm 68:4-6, John 14:15-18, 1 Timothy 5:3-16, James 1:27
I am a widower, and I am raising four motherless children.
Before my late wife died after a two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer, I was put in contact with another widower. I didn’t have the courage to contact him until the scarlet “widower” title was seared onto my soul. Joining him in that title was not something I wanted. I didn’t want to have anything in common with him, no connection at all.
Widowhood thrusts you into a new crowd, a crowd where you are a walking example of every married person’s deepest fear. No matter your age, no one wants to be thrown back to junior high with all the pimples and insecurities and clumsiness. Widowhood makes you feel as though everything you’ve built to guide you and give you a sense of purpose in this life is now gone.
On caring for those who grieve, Isaiah 1:17 says this: “Learn to do what is good. Pursue justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause.” So how exactly do we “plead the widow’s cause”? By acknowledging their grief and treating it with justice and compassion.
The brokenness of the widow and the orphan may not be fully understood unless you have walked those same paths. But full understanding is not the goal. Compassion for a brokenness you may never know is the goal. This sort of compassion really stretches you beyond your equipping, which is what makes this particular kind of hospitality such a great service. God mentions this kind of care numerous times in Scripture because caring for orphans and widows is close to His heart. He says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you” (John 14:18).
The fear of the widow and the orphan, of anyone grieving a great loss, is that they will only be known as people who have been left and abandoned. However, Jesus has promised never to leave us. Personally, it’s a promise that means more to me than I could ever say.
When we make room for orphans and widows, we celebrate Jesus’s promise to abide with us and comfort us, even as we comfort others. We declare our own intention to be present, our ears and our hearts open to grieve with them. When we make room for those who’ve lost much, we remind them that there is a place at God’s table reserved especially for them.
Written by Jason Tippetts