Even when there is no explanation for what you’re going through, God’s love is more than enough for your need.
Mary and Martha, whose story is told in the Gospel of John, must have asked the same question as they struggled to understand why Jesus hadn’t intervened to heal their brother, Lazarus. They had sent for Jesus to come, and when He didn’t come quickly, they probably assumed He didn’t care.
And now, even though Jesus had finally come, it was too late. Lazarus had died.
Mary crumbled, sobbing, at the feet of Jesus. As she lay with her shoulders shaking and her chest heaving, wracked with pain that was too great to bear, the friends who had followed her voiced their own despair over her grief, and they wept too.
At the sight and sound of the poignant scene, Jesus “was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (John 11:33, NIV). The text indicates He felt more than just grief; He felt anger.
Several years ago, I received an urgent call from a person who was at the local hospital, telling me that one of my dearest friends was dying. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
I had spoken with the friend only the day before, and she had been healthy and happy. What could have gone so terribly wrong? As I rushed to the hospital, I kept praying, “Lord, help! The one whom we love is sick—dying!”
When I made my way into the hospital waiting room, I found her extended family huddled in tears and shock. I was told my precious friend had somehow breathed in a virus that had acted like a hand grenade in her body, exploding and destroying her internal organs.
In grief and shock myself, I was urged to go into the chapel, where her husband and children had gathered to pray. As I slipped into the darkened sanctuary and virtually collapsed onto a pew, I heard the whispered prayers and sobs of her loved ones. Then the stifled grief erupted in a chilling, heart-wrenching cry as her son yelled out: “God, it’s not right. It’s not right! It’s just not right!”
Later, when her family made the decision to disconnect her from life support and my beloved friend went to her heavenly home, her son’s agonized, angry grief echoed in my ears, and I thought: He was right. This is wrong. Terribly wrong! This was never meant to be.
Death was not a part of God’s original plan. He created you and me for Himself. He intended for us to live with Him and enjoy Him forever in an uninterrupted, permanent, personal, love relationship.
But sin came into our lives and broke the very relationship with God for which we were created. All of us are affected by this broken relationship because all of us are infected with sin.
When your loved one dies and your grief is tinged with anger, don’t direct it toward God. He’s angry too. Direct it toward sin and its devastating consequences.
That day in Bethany, as Mary wept and her friends wept with her, a tumult of grief and anger and compassion and empathy welled up in the heart of Jesus. In a voice that must have been choking with emotion, He inquired, “Where have you laid him?”
Those around Him replied gently, “‘Come and see, Lord'” (John 11:34). And when Jesus was invited by the mourners in Bethany to “come and see,” He wept! (See vv. 34-35.)
Jesus, the Creator of the universe, the eternal I Am, the Lord of life, knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. Yet One so strong, so powerful, so wise, so human, stood there with tears running down His cheeks! Why? Because He loved those gathered at the tomb so much their grief was His.
When my youngest daughter, Rachel-Ruth, was small, she wore long braids as a means of controlling her naturally curly hair, which she hated. I will never forget an incident that followed the visit to our home of a beautiful young woman who had long, sleek, glossy brown hair. As soon as the door closed behind the young woman, Rachel-Ruth ran into the living room, jerking at her braids, tearing at her bangs, covering her face with her hands, and hysterically sobbing, “I hate my hair! My face is so ugly! I’m not pretty at all!”
Not knowing what had triggered this outburst, I just held her and wept with her. I looked up to see my other daughter, Morrow, standing in the doorway, weeping too. We wept because Rachel-Ruth was so distraught, and we loved her. Her torment was our own.
When was the last time you wept into your pillow at night, thinking no one cared? Is the pain so deep and your hurt so great that you cry night after night?