READ: 1 Timothy 5:1-16
I remember the night when my “tough girl,” single-mom-who-has-it-all-together walls came crashing down. I tended to put up a pretty good front. After all, I was doing the right thing- leaving a dysfunctional and abusive marriage to build a new life.
The only glitch was that although I was free, my two young daughters still had to visit their dad every other weekend. On those weekends, I stayed as busy as I possibly could to distract myself. One night, I tried to make plans with everyone I could think of, but to no avail. I could not pick up a shift at work. So I was home. Alone. And all of a sudden, this “new beginning” didn’t feel so bright and beautiful. It felt very dark and desolate.
In 1 Timothy 5, Paul describes a widow, a desolate one, and the Greek word he uses clarifies that this woman is left entirely alone. The word means “to make single, to leave alone, to isolate.” Although most of us are not actual widows, we have all felt the pain of being single, isolated, or alone.
Because this woman has no other help, Paul tells us that she “set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day” (v. 5). In her isolation, she makes a conscious choice. She looks up.
That first night alone in my house was an unforgettable night because I was faced with my reality. My family was broken. My daughters were not with me. All of my friends were happily married. My hopes and dreams for my life and future had all come crashing down. And I was in an empty, little farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. All. By. Myself. Desolate. Like a widow.
Have you ever felt like that? So alone that you would liken yourself to a widow? Forgotten…overlooked…overwhelmed? In those moments, we, just like the desolate widow, have a choice.
When we are tempted to turn on Netflix and fall asleep on the couch as quickly as possible, let’s turn on worship music instead. Let’s open our Bibles instead. Let’s cry out to God in a way that can only be described as desperate. When we are scared and tired and so alone, what will happen if we beg Him to come near, to heal our hearts, to renew our hope?
That night I spent alone, instead of surrendering to depression, I chose to be desperate. For Jesus. I stood, I knelt, I paced, I wept on my face. And He came. I wasn’t alone anymore.
Looking back, I wonder how different things would be if He hadn’t arranged that night. What if I had been able to make plans, or what if I would have turned on the TV instead of reaching out to Him? Today, would I be like the other widow- the one “who just lives for pleasure and is alive, but spiritually dead?”
When life throws us a wake-up call, let’s look up. When our circumstances unravel and our hope is deferred, let’s not try to stick a Band-Aid on it. Let’s admit we are desolate. Let’s cry out like that widow who has been pruned down to nothing so that she can see the One Most Important thing… Him. Let’s see Him, even when we’re desolate. Let’s turn our desolate into desperate.
God, we have all felt desolate. Some of us are single, some of us are married and lonely, some of us are divorced, and some of us are true widows. We all need you, and we ask that you would use our hard circumstances to push us into your arms. Let us not look down in despair, but up in hope. Let us seek your face when we are tempted to just stay busy with the pleasures of life. Thank you for being the One who can satisfy, heal, and restore us. In Jesus name, Amen.