I was reading through one of my favorite Gospel stories, The Widow in Nain (Luke 7:11-17), and it reminded of the closing scene from The Pursuit of Happyness, that fateful moment when Will Smith’s character actually catches a break.
The widow (nameless; but the idea that one would be called a widow means some stuff has already gone down, right) is in a funeral procession to bury her only son (v.12).
A large crowd came into Nain with Jesus. (v.11).
A large crowd came out of Nain with the widow. (v.12)
You’ve seen a Middle-Eastern funeral procession, right? It isn’t the docile, lowly expression of grief that we know. There is usually unrestrained weeping, commotion, and pain. On occasion, dust is thrown in the air and clothes are torn in open expressions of grief.
So, imagine what happens when Jesus’ people and the widow’s people, get together?
Jesus touches the box and gives the woman back her son. (v.14-15)
Great news spread about Jesus throughout Judea and the countryside. (v.16)
Dan Ariely once shared about a study of pain tolerance. In short, he found that people who had experienced pain in their past had a higher tolerance to pain. Basically, those who had previously experienced pain could associate lower-grades of pain as signs of healing and recovery because, they’ve been there before.
Pain as a sign of healing.
As we survey the human experience, there is a certain sweetness that accompanies relief, recovery, and resolution. The sweetness is real because people have experienced such deep and profound challenges that, when the weight is finally lifted, all that remains is a deep exhale of love and gratitude.
The writer of Proverbs says, “a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12) May we find the courage to imagine that the waiting and the wondering could be signs of our dreams in the process of being fulfilled and our hearts to be encouraged.