Scripture: John 11:
32When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34“Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Observation: When we are hurting, God hurts along with us. It may not be for the same reason as we hurt, but He hurts even more than we do because His love for us is perfect.
Application: What is God doing when life takes a turn for the worst? I believe that God is never far away from us, we may feel that we don’t have a strong connection with Him sometimes, but it is not because He has moved, we are the ones who move away from Him. In the scripture above we find the shortest verse in the Bible, verse 35 of John 11 is only comprised of two simple words, but those words show us so much of Christ’s compassion and humanity. Jesus wept. And the question that you have to ask is, Why? The Jews thought it was because He loved Lazarus so much, but that isn’t right. Jesus did love Lazarus, but it was not because of Lazarus’ condition that made him weep, it was “I think” because Jesus felt empathy for Mary and Martha.
I’ve probably mentioned before that funerals are very tough for me. I always feel like I’ve left a little part of myself behind when I am called to do a funeral. I don’t feel that way because I am concerned about the person who has passed away, it’s because of the bitter pain that the family and loved ones feel at their loss. I am certain that we do not vanish, we don’t just go away and cease to exist, we move on in a better, more powerful form that isn’t as vulnerable to everything our body of flesh is now. As a minister one of the things I’m expected to do in a funeral service is to stand beside the coffin as the family passes by for the last time. For me this is the hardest part because it is there that the strongest feelings of loss hit those who love the deceased the most.
If you love people, it’s hard not to feel that pain yourself and shed a tear or two. Many funerals that I’ve performed have been for people who I really didn’t know very well, and sometimes I didn’t know them at all. As the family passes by the casket for the last time and their emotions are the strongest I’ve often shed tears myself. I’m not crying for the person in the casket though, because I feel that they are with God. The tears are emphatic for the family and the pain they are going through.
I think this is where we find Jesus in our scripture, even though He knew that He was about to make everything alright, he wept because he felt the pain that Mary and Martha felt. I also believe this is where Jesus is with us when we are suffering, when we are in pain or when we are mourning the loss of someone dear to us. He is there with us feeling the pain and shedding tears right by our side. Jesus doesn’t suffer with us in the same way as we do because He is able to see the whole story whereas we are only reading one page at a time, but He suffers with us because He loves us and feels our pain.
It also brings to mind a scripture I used in my sermon this past Sunday
17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Part of our spiritual journey is suffering, we may not like that but it is what it is, we suffer with Christ and we also share in His glory, and I think it works the other way around to, He shares in our suffering and rejoices with us in our glories.
Prayer: Lord Jesus,
Thank you for sharing in all the experiences I have in life. Thank you for crying with me and laughing with me. Thank you for sending your comfort and strength when I don’t have any of my own. Help me to be there for others who are not able to feel the presence of Your Spirit as you give peace that is beyond that which is available to the world. Help me share Your love with those around me who so desperately need it.