The Widow

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
Psalm 68:5

Serving the Widow:
Helpful Tips for the Local Church

Picture of a lonely widow holding a photo from her past.

The Widow

By Kyle Johson
Director of Compassion Initiatives
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Can you imagine how it feels to bury your spouse? No one knows truly the full depth of loss like a fellow widow or widower. How could anyone possibly understand the pain and grief that the loss of a spouse brings to those who are left to live without them? No one could. No one except Jesus. Undoubtedly, the tragedy goes beyond the initial loss. Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said it this way, “For many women, becoming a widow does not just mean the heartache of losing a husband, but often losing everything else as well.”

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Can you imagine how it feels to bury your spouse?

What can the local church do for those, who are experiencing the most agonizing pain in their lifetime? Does God’s Church understand the assignment? Scripture is clear: the local church is to care for widows who are in pain by BEING the church to the widow, hearing their cry, and protecting the widow. As we start the month of February, most people are preparing or anticipating to recognize the one they love on Valentine’s Day, February 14th. Let us also, as the body of Christ, see the widow—those who have sadly said goodbye to the ones they loved.

Does God’s Church understand the assignment?

At CityServe, we know God has given the local church the assignment to do more than just DO church, but to BE the church to people in time of suffering, in this case—the widow. James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble. . .” Being a follower of Christ is more about what we do outside of church service, than if we attend it or not. After all, just being parked in a garage doesn’t make you a car. We are also not to wait for widows to come to us in their grief and ask for comfort. Most widows will never knock on the church doors and say, “I need help in my loneliness and sadness.” The local church is to bring peace, comfort, and love to them.

James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble. . .”

Moreover, Christ’s church is to be a reflection of the Father’s love. As God is the defender and the protector of the widow, so is His Church to be. “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation.” Psalm 68:5. Let us also consider God’s assignment in Exodus 22:22-23 when it says, “You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry. . .” God hears the widow’s cry, sees every tear, and knows every pain. The local church should hear their cries too and recognize their grief. That is the starting point to offering love, peace and hope that can only be found in Jesus. These verses are a template to the local church for how to care for women and men who have loved and lost.

Above all else, we know this—God cares for the widows and so should we. When we care about the things of God—the people who are on His heart—it’s when the church is BEING the church, AND a bless-able church.

Above all else, we know this—God cares for the widows and so should we.

We invite you this month and beyond to join us as we discuss real tangible ways your church can care for the widow in your community. It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated—it starts by caring and showing up. We understand church leaders and pastors want to prioritize how they care for those who are hurting, even if they can’t grasp the grief and pain having never gone through it themselves. But Jesus understands it. He has made them of top importance and has commanded His Church to do the same. Even if we can’t imagine how it feels to bury our spouse, we can empathize and minister to them.

What is your church doing to proactively care for widows in their grief?

What is your church doing to proactively care for widows in their grief?

Lemons to Laughter – How one church is taking the sour out of being a widow

A group of widow women gathered.
A group of widowed women praying for their food.