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God cares. Sometimes life is just plain hard. There are money problems, friendships lost, family turmoil, deaths of loved ones, deployments, illnesses, difficult decisions to make, and just regular, everyday struggles.
Unfortunately, when faced with one or more of these life situations, our tendency can be to wonder if God cares, to wonder if He is aware-of what is going on or present with us in the trial, to wonder if He is touched by our pain or even feeling our pain alongside us.
When God Weeps
God cares. Let me encourage you today, my sister-in-Christ. He does care, He is aware and so very present, He is touched, and He is grieving right along with you.
How do I know this? Well, there is a short little two word verse in the Scriptures (it is, in fact, the shortest verse in all of the Bible) which so beautifully and powerfully illustrates for us just how much He cares.
That verse is John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” On face value, it may not seem like much, but allow me to expound on this verse and provide you with a little background info on what was going on in the context of it.
The Death of Lazarus
Beginning in verse 1 of John 11, we are told that Jesus’ good friend Lazarus was ill and that Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, went to Jesus to implore Him to come tend to their sick brother. He did not do so immediately, and by the time Jesus did actually arrive in their home, Lazarus had already died.
As to be expected, Mary and Martha were beside themselves with grief and told Jesus that if He had only come to Lazarus and tended to him, he would not have died.
We go on to read later in the chapter that Jesus ended up raising Lazarus from the dead and that all was well and happy again. But, today, I want you to notice this little verse in the middle of the story, the one that tells us that “Jesus wept.”
Now, what sense does that make? Why would Jesus, who knows the end from the beginning and knew He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead and restore joy to the hearts of his sisters first stop and take time to weep before performing His miracle?
Why didn’t He just immediately jump to His plan of raising Lazarus? What did He have to be sad about? After all, Lazarus was about to live again!
He Understands and Feels Your Pain
I do not at all believe it was by accident that He wept before raising Lazarus, nor do I believe that this shortest verse of the Bible is unimportant. I firmly believe this verse is here for a very important, very comforting reason – to illustrate the fact that the Lord understands and feels our pain right alongside us.
Our sadness is His sadness. Our grief is His grief. Our cares are His cares (1 Peter 5:7).
“Casting all your care upon Him; for he careth for you” 1 Peter 5:7
Furthermore, not only does He understand and feel our pain, but He is meeting us right there in it and validating it, showing that He fully realizes that our emotions are real and heavy.
He is not interested in telling us to shape up, get over it, and not feel our sadness. Does He want us to wallow in it, to never be able to get past it? Of course not. But He is a tender father who empathizes with us. What comfort that can bring us in our time of trial and heartache!
In addition to the encouragement it brings, this example of Christ’s is such a valuable lesson for us to learn. After all, how often do we flippantly say to a hurting friend, “It’ll all work out in the end!” or “Just remember Romans 8:28 – God will bring good from it!” That’s right, He will bring good from our hard times. He will work things out in the end.
However, that does not negate the pain in the here and now. That truth does not instantly take away the grief we are experiencing here in this fallen world.
So, the next time we have a friend or family member come to us who is really hurting, let us not just instantly jump to the, “It’ll be ok!” comments. After all, Jesus didn’t – even though He knew that in a mere matter of seconds everything would be okay,
He first entered into their grief with them and showed them that He cared, He understood, and He knew how hard and how sad this situation was for them. May we be that kind of friend today!
I hope you have been encouraged today by the realization that Christ is understanding, validating,and sharing in your tears today. He loves you and is your constant companion in your grief. God bless you!