Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jesus wept!

“Jesus wept.”  (John 11:35)

            What a tiny sentence, but so meaningful.  Have you ever really thought about what this verse means for us?  Because once you do, it really changes the way you see God and your relationship with Him.

            Jesus had just arrived in Bethany where Martha and Mary were mourning the death of their brother, Lazarus.  Lazarus and his sisters were Jesus’ friends.  He loved them.  But even though He loved them, He waited two days after He heard of Lazarus’ illness to travel to their home.  And in that time, Lazarus died and was buried for four days by the time Jesus’ arrived.

            The thing is, Jesus knew all along that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.  And He knew that it was for the benefit of the disciples and the people to see this miracle (John 11:14).  He knew that they would be rejoicing shortly after He arrived, when they saw Lazarus walk out of his tomb.  But when He arrived in Bethany and saw Mary and the people crying over Lazarus, it deeply moved His heart.  And He cried, too.  He did not cry because Lazarus was dead.  He cried because He saw how much pain Mary and the people were in.  His heart broke for the people’s broken hearts.
            What other religion has a god who hurts when his creation is in pain?  What other god cries when his people cry?  What other god willingly made people so that he could have a relationship with them, even though he knew it would hurt him at times deep in his heart?
            I can’t think of any other god than the God of the Bible. 
            When Jesus saw the pain that Mary and the people were in, He cried with them.  He cried for them.  He ached because they ached.  He loved them so much that it hurt Him to know that their hearts were broken.
            Yet how often do we accuse God of ignoring the pain that He sees on earth?  How often do we wonder if He doesn’t care that we hurt?  If He is ignorant or apathetic about the painful trials we go through, the nights we spend crying alone in our rooms?  How often do we  wonder where He is, when this world and our lives are in such a mess, so broken, so damaged, groaning in turmoil?
            But do you know where He is when we hurt?  When we cry?
            He is right there with us, hurting, crying.  It breaks His heart to see our hearts break.  That is the kind of amazing, loving God I believe in.  One who loves His creation so much that He hurts with them.  One who sees the mess we made of our lives, our world, and is deeply pained.  One who knew it would break His heart over and over again – and who knew that we would break His heart over and over again – and yet He made us anyway.  Because He wants a relationship with each of us.  One who isn’t indifferent to our pain.  Who doesn’t play cosmic games with our lives just for His own amusement.  And who is not apathetic to our trials. 
            Jesus allowed Lazarus to die.  He allowed the people to go into deep pain and hopelessness before He raised Lazarus from the dead.  And He did this for a reason, so that the people might believe in Him. 
            And in our lives, we will all have painful, heart-breaking trials when we wonder where God is and why He let it happen.  Like Martha and Mary, we will cry out, “Lord, if only You had been here . . . If only You did something about this!”
            But we need to decide if we will trust God anyway, if we will trust that He lets things happen for a reason.  For His glory.  For our faith and spiritual development.  For a future reward or purpose.  He might indeed “raise Lazarus” when we come to Him with our prayer, our trial, our broken heart.  But He might not fix things while we are on earth.  We might not understand why He let it happen or see what good came out of it. 
            But make no mistake . . . He is not indifferent.  Even if He does not fix things the way we want or explain His reasons to us, we can take comfort in knowing that when we are crying, He is crying with us.  None of us ever cries or hurts alone!