I wasn’t alone, but I had a friend who was with me. She didn’t allow me to suffer alone. She didn’t stand outside my grief and talk to me from without, but came near enough to allow the rawness to touch her. She cried; she wondered; she listened and she sat. She was like a shadow on a sunny day. She kept showing up. She was fiercely persistent.
In our grief, we remember the ones who show up. Jesus shows us how to be one who does.
In John 11, there is a story I have always been fascinated by. Jesus’ good friend Lazarus died and friends and family were grief-stricken. The One who raised the dead had a close friend who died. No wonder Mary and Martha, Lazarus’s sisters, were perplexed. Surely Jesus could have prevented the heartache. Had He come earlier, there would have been no grief, no tears and no funeral. He could have just showed up, marched up to that closed up tomb and called Lazarus out, but that’s not what He did. First, He allowed grief to touch Him and then John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept“ (emphasis added). He chose to feel the grief. He took a moment to sit in their space and feel what they felt. He felt the pain and allowed Himself to be moved by it. There is profound power when grief is shared by another. Entering another’s grief allows us to partner with God to bring healing to a hurting heart.
Jesus was the exact representation of who God is and the story of Lazarus reveals God’s heart towards us. God comes to us with compassion in our hard spaces. He doesn’t watch us from afar, but comes near. He is not distant, but sits with us in our difficult moments. He is not unfeeling or uncaring, but chooses to feel deeply when we are in pain. He is not a God who does not allow emotion to touch Him but voluntarily moves into those places with us. We can come to Him no matter what it is we are carrying and be sure of His tender compassion and care. We are never alone. He is with us. Sometimes He comes near us through another, just as my friend did for me.
We, too, can learn to be near others as Jesus was. We can choose to enter into other’s places of grief and offer our tears. Through shared tears, healing eventually comes.
Memory Verse: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
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