“And he said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’” John 11:34-36 (ESV)
There are times when there are no words. The situation is so heartbreaking that you feel it deep down in your soul.
That’s what happened when we heard the news. A small plane had gone missing, and the only person aboard was the young pilot who had attended our church for years. We prayed for a miracle but quickly discovered our worst fears were true. The plane had crashed, and he did not survive.
He was only 17.
I knew all the “right” Christian things to say to myself and anyone else who might ask … but it was hard to wrap my mind around the incredible loss.
As followers of Christ, we have hope. We know that God uses all things for our good and His glory. We know He is sovereign.
But we still grieve. That isn’t a lack of faith or trust. It is the response of the human heart to a fallen world. The story of Lazarus in the Bible tells of a time Jesus Himself grieved.
There are so many facets to the story of Lazarus. Jesus knew him — this wasn’t just someone who pursued Him in a crowd or heard of His miracles. This was a friend Jesus spent time with. We know Jesus loved everyone, but the Bible specifically states, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (John 11:5, ESV).
Jesus had dinner with Lazarus. Jesus even found Himself in the middle of sister drama with Martha and Mary. He knew this family, and they knew Him. Personally.
That was one of the many reasons why the death of Lazarus was such a shock. It was hard to understand why.
We all know how the story ends — Lazarus didn’t stay dead long. Jesus displayed what He proclaimed: He is the resurrection and the life.
But in the middle, between death and life, something else happened. “Jesus wept” (John 11:35, ESV).
This begs the question … why? Jesus knew Lazarus would die, but He also knew Lazarus would live again. Why weep? He could have started with “Lazarus, come forth,” but He chose to shed tears publicly instead.
Scholars and theologians have theories on this. Jesus doesn’t ever say why, so we really don’t know. But I do know this: I’m glad He did. It reminds me that some moments don’t need words. They don’t need explanations or proclamations. They are simply a time to grieve.
The best advice I received from a friend when I was going through a very dark time was merely to “feel” whatever I was feeling. The healing would come later.
To everything there is a season, including grief. As we walk through sad times, know we have a Savior who is our sympathetic and understanding High Priest. A Savior who gives us hope and life eternal.
A Savior who wept.
Dear heavenly Father, sometimes, life is hard, but I am so grateful for Your presence through it all. Thank You for Your love and the hope that we have in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Hebrews 2:14, “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.” (NLT)
Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” (NLT)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND
How have you sensed God’s presence during difficult situations in your life? What verse brought you the most comfort?
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What We Believe