A Time to Mourn

John 11:34-36
And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.  Jesus wept.  Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

He is not a God untouched by our infirmities, our pain, or our sorrow.  But instead He sorrows for us and beside us.  Jesus could have come and prevented the death of Lazarus and the pain and loss that resulted from it, but His bigger plan superseded that.  And even though God’s purposes and plans may bring hurtful things into our lives, He does not leave us to face those experiences without Him.

And so when life does get painful, when the sorrow is overwhelming, it touches the heart of our loving God.  Here as Jesus walked among His people, as He participated so intimately in the experience of being human, He understood what loss is like from our perspective.  And so He sympathizes with us.  Jesus understands what we don’t, and He knows the future like we can’t, but still He comes to mourn alongside us, to participate in our grief, and to offer us the comfort of His presence even as we have to endure those difficult things.

There is a time for grief.  Even with that sure knowledge of a future resurrection in Martha’s heart, even with the knowledge that Jesus Himself had that He would soon raise Lazarus from the dead, sorrow and sadness come upon them.  The fact that Jesus mourns with Mary and Martha shows us that we are allowed to be sad when loss hits.  It is okay to cry as we grieve our loved ones.  We are allowed to feel sorrow when something painful comes into our lives.  It’s okay to experience those human emotions that sometimes override the joyful truths we know in our hearts.  It’s okay to feel how we feel and to express it in those moments.

One of the most amazing things about Jesus is that He came to be a man.  And as such, He experienced uniquely life from our perspective.  Even though He was also fully God, He felt to the fullest the kinds of things that we feel.  He cared for those He spent time with.  He was affected by this death.  So may that encourage us to seek Him in those confusing and painful times that come into our lives.  May we experience in our own times of loss the deep and profound closeness that we can have with Jesus when the hurt threatens to overwhelm us.  Let us go through that process with Jesus as He goes through it with us.

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