I remember the exact moment I heard the news. The hot tears pouring down my face and theconfused prayers to a God I couldn’t understand.
Sarah, Chad, Nathan, Christopher, little guys who fought cancer and won eternity, babies lost during pregnancy, a sweet faced little man who I had never even met.
Mitch, my dad, Mary. And now a man who fathered many, loved many, who lived a gentle life and praised the Lord for his many blessings.
Others taken what seemed like an eternity too soon. Friends who lost their anchor. Wives who had to plan the funeral of their loves instead of their retirement with them. Parents who had to walk through a valley no parent should ever have to walk through.
I remember falling at the feet of Jesus, as Mary and Martha had done after their brother died, and saying “Jesus, if only you had been here… Jesus, it didn’t have to end like this… Jesus, why didn’t you come sooner… Jesus, why didn’t you do something.”
I cry out to Him… You so could have been glorified in this! You could have raised him up off His sick bed and EVERYONE would have known it was only by YOU! It’s just so hard to understand. Such good people, gone so soon.
And just as He did with Mary, I can feel His gentle response to my questions, my confusion, my frustration, my grief…
Jesus doesn’t just understand our tears, He joins us in them. There’s something about those words, “Jesus wept”, that have changed the way I grieve. Changed the way I have comforted others in their grief. I once mistakenly thought faith in Jesus meant that we could say things like “we will see them again someday” and that would make it alllll better. But it doesn’t. Because when you are standing at the casket of your child, someday feels like it’s a million years away. When you are sitting at a family dinner and there is an empty chair staring back at you, you want someday to be RIGHT NOW. When you have exciting news and the one who would rejoice the loudest is gone, someday just leaves you with silence.
Don’t get me wrong, someday gives us hope. Someday is something we can cling to in this world
until we make it to the next. Without someday I don't know how we would get through this day. But someday doesn’t make the pain go away.
I still pick up my phone and want to text Mary and share the news. I still wish my dad could be there cheering Zach on as he runs the football down the field. I wish I had the chance to tell him to stop screaming at the referees so loud. I wish he were here to give Tali’s boyfriend a hard time. I wish… I wish I could get my mind around God’s plan that doesn’t always make sense.
But Jesus wept. When His friends Mary and Martha were grieving over Lazarus… He did too. He knew that He had come to that place for the sole purpose of raising Lazarus up from the dead, not someday but THAT VERY DAY… and still He wept. He entered into their grief. He joined them there. He didn’t chastise them for not understanding, He didn’t turn around and leave because they questioned Him, He wasn’t let down by their accusing tone- Jesus, if only you had been here, our brother wouldn’t have died…
Instead He entered into their grief. And He cried with them. His heart was deeply moved by their mourning, and He wept. He didn’t tell Mary to get up and dust herself off. He joined her in the dirt.
For my friends who are grieving, I just want you to know that Jesus is too. Even though He knows the plans and the purposes… even though He is working all things to the good… even though He knows that Resurrection Day is COMING… He is still right there with you in the midst of your grief. He is sinking down in the dirt beside you and He will cry with you until you are ready, until you are able, to reach out and let Him help you up off your knees. He can handle your questions. He can handle you pounding on His chest and screaming “WHY?!” He can handle your tears. Because He loves you. And He understands.
Friends, Resurrection Day is coming. And the hope for those in Christ is that we will see our loved ones again. Until that day comes, it’s okay to miss them. It’s okay to wish they were here. It’s okay to wonder why. Even when I can't understand Him, I am comforted knowing He always understands ME. He understands you too. He grieves. He weeps. He sits in the dirt and He comforts you.
Your Word tells us that you alone can turn our mourning into dancing. Your Word promises us that you are near to the broken hearted. Your Word assures us that those who mourn will be comforted. Your Word tells us that you will save those who are crushed in Spirit. Would you just make those words real for those who are grieving today? Jesus would you sit down in the dirt with them and just love them? Wrap your arms around them, let them FEEL your embrace in a most tangible way, Father. Whether the loss is a day old or a decade old, would you bring the comfort that only your Holy Spirit can bring. Fill them with the hope of someday, while you weep with them today. I love you Jesus, thank you for loving me. Jesus, I trust you. In your name we pray…