Then Jesus wept.
John 11:35 (NLT)
It’s been a rough month. A friend’s daughter was killed in a freak car accident. A truck lost control and jumped the median, slamming into rush hour traffic. My friend’s daughter’s little car was crushed instantly. She was simply driving to work on a normal day, and then—she was gone. There were injuries to other drivers, but she was the only one who died.
My friend comes from a large Christian family, and her daughter had a strong, vibrant relationship with Our Living Lord. Her mother does not doubt that her daughter is safe in Jesus’ arms. Still, those left behind are grieving for the loss of their precious daughter/wife/mother. And no matter how strong and deep a person’s faith is, sometime in the grieving process you are eventually going to have to deal with the sentences that begin with “Why?”
Why is the start of many big questions. Why did my friend have to lose her beloved daughter? Why couldn’t an all-powerful Lord stop this tragedy? These are both valid and important questions, and I can’t begin to answer them, but there is one thing I do know for a certainty.
Jesus grieves too.
The eleventh chapter in John’s Gospel tells about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary were much-loved friends of Jesus (John 11:5), and apparently also much loved by their town of Bethany. When Christ arrived at their house it was so packed with wailing mourners that the sisters had to leave to be able to talk with him. They and rest of the town were beside themselves with grief. A short time later the Lord would raise Lazarus, but before that, Jesus wept (v. 35)
Jesus felt their grief and He hated it. The New Living Translation says “A deep anger welled up within Him” (v.33). He’d soon raise Lazarus from death, but that didn’t ease the suffering of the moment. Their grief mattered to Christ. A good man had died, and his family and friends were heartbroken. And Jesus was heartbroken for them.
I’m still grieving for my friend’s daughter. I’ve still got big questions that I doubt will be answered this side of the grave. But I do know that, no matter what suffering comes my way in this imperfect world, My Comforter will hold my hand and walk through it with me. Jesus wept, but He is not leaving my side. Not. Ever.