I thought I had finally lost everything, but today, He gave me a fresh start.
After my Amit, my husband died, I felt empty, broken, as if I were only half a woman. Once he was gone, I could no longer keep the home we had made. I took Kfir, my son and went to lived with my parents.
When my Amit passed on, I lost a husband, a house, and his covering, but most of all, I lost my friend. His name – Amit – friend – was perfect. Before he was anything else to me, he was my friend. We grew up together, and we planned to grow old together. But it was not to be.
Kfir was not yet thirteen when we lost his father, not quite a man. At first he tried to step up and be the man of the house. But it started to wear on my little lion cub, and as time went on, resentment grew. He resented his father for leaving him. He resented me for taking him back to his grandparent’s house. He resented them for putting him in a room with his aunt, who was his junior. Moreover, he resented the Lord for putting him into this ugly life.
The same months and years that healed my hurts, and dimmed the loss I felt, seemed to make his grow. With each passing birthday, he grew more and more distant, until it seemed I had lost him too. It was just after his sixteenth birthday when he left the house, and left the synagogue. I would see him from time to time, but he would not make eye contact.
Then, about a month ago he got sick. He told me, that at first, he was just uncomfortable after he ate. He said he thought it would pass, but it got worse and worse, until he couldn’t keep his food down. That’s when he came back home.
I can remember when he stood at the door, asking for help, thinking thank you Lord for bringing my boy home. But after the first long night, I knew this was not the Lord’s doing. I saw in his eyes, a cry for help from my little cub. Yes, I had my Kfir, my little lion cub, in my arms once again, but he was dying. Doctors came and went, each with a different idea of how to get my boy to hold some food, but it was not to be.
I even called our rabbi, and he brought a priest into the house. When they heard my story, they would not pray for him. They said this torture, this torment my son faced was the judgment of the Lord, and to make an offering would be an abomination. They told me the Almighty would not hear the prayers of the rebellious.
Two days ago, death took my son while he lay in my arms. When he left me, he left me alone.
Our law requires that you bury your dead quickly, laying another brick on my heavy heart. I just wanted to hold him in my arms. I just wanted one last look in his eyes. My father helped me get him a coffin and dress him. He even gathered by brothers to carry him to the place we would bury him. A place I knew all to well. The place my Amit lay buried these three years.
As we moved into our little town of Nain we found the road completely blocked, hundreds of people in every direction. They strained and pressed in to hear as the man in the center of it all was talking, teaching I think. My brother’s who were carrying my Kfir’s coffin, eked their way through the middle of the street.
My heart cried out to the Lord, “Why is this so hard, I just want to bury my son” and that is when I broke down and began to weep in earnest. The weight of it all – the loss of my husband, that wound was re-opened – the abandonment and then death of my boy – the rejection of the leaders, it all gushed out in tears.
I bumped into my dear boy’s box when we came to an abrupt halt. It disoriented me a bit. Then I heard the voice that had been teaching moments earlier say,
“Do not weep.”
I am not sure what stopped my tears. It may have been fury, or indignation, or shock, or just confusion. I wiped the tears from my eyes, trying to find the words that would rescue me from this crowd. I wanted to get on with – get through – this most horrible of days. Then our eyes met.
I could see in His eyes that He could feel my pain. He was not trying to placate me, or control me or hush me. He knew what I felt. He knew the hurt. He knew the shame. He knew the guilt. I don’t know how this man could understand the heart of a woman, a widow, a mother with no children. I don’t know.
He put His hand on the rough-hewn coffin and spoke to my son.
“Young man, I say to you, ARISE!”
That last was more of a shout, it had the feel of a command, like my Amit used to stop Kfir when he was in danger.
It was our tradition to keep the coffin open for the procession. This way people could have one last look at the dead before we surrendered them to the ground, and today I am glad we did. Because as the sound of that word echoed around the streets, Kfir began to stir.
First it was just, I don’t know, like a flutter. But then all at once, he gulped in a mouth full of air and started to talk. At first I didn’t know what he was saying, but then I understood. It was not normal street talk. It was the formal Hebrew of the temple. He was reciting the portion of Torah he memorized and recited at his bar mitzvah.
His eyes opened and he sat up. Then he understood what was going on, and he wept. As they lowed the coffin, he climbed out and came to me. His embrace engulfed me and our tears mingled. Then we turned and embraced Him, Yeshua, this one sent from God.
Was He just a prophet, a messenger, an angel? Who is this Yeshua? We were holding Him, embracing Him, but as we realized what had just happened fear – awe – wonder began to take hold. We let go of Him and fell to our knees. As we did we saw that everyone in the street had bowed low.
Murmurs rippled around us; What kind of prophet is this? Has the Lord come in a man’s body? No other man has done such things among us. Surely, this is the Son of God. What manner of man is this?
These same questions float around my mind and I have no answer. But I know this. Today I received my son from the dead, and we will follow this Nazarene.
If you like this, you might enjoy “Blood in the Sheets.“
This encounter with Jesus is fictionalized from Luke 7:11-16
Copyright – 2014 – Benjamin Nelson