Several weeks ago, I was presented with a new software package at my job. I was not frightened or anxious, but change is always a bit challenging. I knew the old program quite well, functioned in it comfortably, and thought the old program adequately met our needs. With a few clicks, I could solve problems and find answers. I could enter new data and combine it with the old for a complete financial picture. For me, there were no red flags indicating the program was malfunctioning or antiquated. I simply liked the program, with which I had become so familiar.
However, my boss learned that the program would no longer have technical support if we had problems, so we were forced to purchase new software. This is so very much like the process of widowhood.
We did not ask to be widows; we enjoyed our former lives and had learned to function well in the responsibilities. For me, it was my husband’s illness and then death that forced me into widowhood. For you, it could have been a car or work accident, or a disaster of some sort. Regardless of how well we liked the old life, it was gone, obsolete, no longer available.
Just as with my new software, a widow’s learning curve is steep. We make many mistakes, which require corrections. At times, we are even uncertain of simple tasks. When we need help, we feel foolish because we couldn’t figure it out on our own.
Learning a new program takes time. While there are similarities to the old program, functioning within the new one is completely different. In my new computer program, even some of the vocabulary is new. In navigating the new world of widowhood, much of life’s processes are different. For me, it even seemed that my relationship with my children changed.
My boss assures me that I’m doing well, and that each new day will bring more confidence. God’s Word tells us that He loves the widow and cares for her. He has promised to be a husband to us (Isaiah 54:5), that He is ever mindful of us and our needs (Psalm 68:5), and He heals the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3). Because of Him and His Word, we can gain renewed strength and confidence each day.
God’s plan for me did not end when my husband drew his last breath. God did not say, “OK, Tony is gone, we don’t need Miriam anymore.” The direction of my life has certainly changed; my surroundings are different; some of my friends are new. But God has been in the formation of this new life even before I was born. Tony’s death did not catch Him by surprise. It’s always been: Let’s continue with the plan. Our responsibility is to discover the plan through the leading of the Holy Spirit and then follow it. As God’s plans unfold, we will find joy and satisfaction even in widowhood. As with my new computer program, we may even find that some of the processes are better.
Once again, I’ve been reminded of that very familiar Scripture: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).