By the grace of God, I have been able, for the most part, aside from a few weak moments, to keep a stiff upper lip throughout this ordeal.
Yesterday, however, someone had the nerve to post a sappy love song on Facebook, and like a moron, I clicked on it. Within seconds, I was a puddle. (Click here if you must, but be warned.)
Somehow, love is sweeter where pain has made the heart raw. I count myself among the blessed few to feel an acute sense of mortality, yet to have the chance to cherish those I love while they are still here. So many have suffered loss without a moment to say goodbye. Those folks hold my deep regard, and my heart aches for them.
Jesus wept. Lazarus had died, and Mary and Martha were mourning the loss of their brother. Jesus came to Bethany, and they came to him (at different times) and said the same thing: “Lazarus wouldn’t be dead if you had only come earlier.” But Jesus’ reaction was different to each woman. With Martha, He gently reassured and corrected her, saying “I am the resurrection and the life.”
But when He saw Mary weeping, He wept, too.
This was the same Mary who, bearing the scorn of others, had anointed His feet (‘in preparation for burial’) with the costly ointment, and washed them with her tears, humbly drying them with her hair. This same Mary, forgiven much, had sat at His feet, listening to His words, while Martha was crossly running around and resenting Mary for not helping her.
He had no logical reason to truly be sad about Lazarus—He knew that in a few moments, he would live again. What struck His heart, I believe, is the sight of one of His beloved in pain. Though He knew Mary’s sorrow wouldn’t last long, He still felt it just as deeply as she.
We have not a high priest who cannot be touched by the feeling of our infirmities. He is compassionate, understanding our feelings of helplessness and sorrow when we are powerless.
He cares for His own. He mourns with us, cries with us, though not in despair, because in Him we have hope. And on His everlasting arms we lean, more aware than ever of their strength.
The intense pain felt in difficult moments sharpens the color of life, bringing meaning into the most mundane details, teaching us to appreciate the small things that He has ordained. I am determined to see Him in everything, to catch the lingering scent of Him where His hands have expertly carved our path.
His strength is perfect when our strength is gone. There is no covering up ‘no strength.’ It is the lame man who was carried to Jesus by his friends. It is Lazarus, dead in the grave. It is the realization that you can do nothing to fix your situation.
And it is moments like these that teach us to collapse on the Rock, to cling to Him like a belt, and know that we shall not be moved.