I sat in my car as monsoon rains poured down on our little island in the East China Sea, while my husband was on the other side of the world, preaching at his mother’s funeral. A few years prior, ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) set in, ravaging her...
The Bible tells us that Jesus wept. When Lazarus, who Jesus loved, died, our Lord came to Bethany. When he arrived, Martha came out to meet him, and later her sister Mary. These two women were grieving the death of their dearly-loved brother.
- “When Jesus saw her [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled” (John 11:33).
- And he said, “Where have you laid him?” (11:34).
- They said to him, “Lord, come and see” (11:34).
- Jesus wept (11:35).
Why did he weep? Christ knew that in five minutes he would raise Lazarus from the dead – the resurrection is five minutes away for this brother! He told Martha, “Your brother will rise again” (11:23). But he did not say to Martha, “Don’t grieve.” He did not say that. He is the Resurrection and the Life, but he weeps with Martha and Mary over their loss. Jesus wept!
God is always intimately involved in the grief of his people. There is a beautiful verse in the book of Psalms that speaks of God gathering all our tears in a bottle. If you don’t know it, I hope you will note it, so that you will remember it.
You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8).
Every tear you have ever shed is completely known to your heavenly Father. Not one of them is ever forgotten by him. The tears of God’s children are precious to God. They are part of why he sent his Son into the world.
There are many wonderful statements in the Bible of why Jesus Christ came into the world. In one of them the Messiah says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to… bind up the brokenhearted… to comfort all who mourn… that they may be called oaks of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:1-3), so that you may be able to stand and not be destroyed in your grief.
Our Lord was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). In the Garden of Gethsemane, our Lord said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow” (Matthew 26:38 NIV). When your soul is overwhelmed with sorrow, your Savior has been there. You have a Savior who knows what it is to weep!
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You also have a Savior with whom you can talk. There is a great gulf between this world and the next. You cannot talk to your loved one who has died. But if your loved one was in Christ, he or she is with the Savior, and you can talk to the Savior about your loved one who is now in his house. You can tell the Savior how much you miss them and how much you love them. You can bring the pain of your loss to this Savior who is familiar with sorrow and grief.
One day Christ will wipe away all tears from your eyes. Literally, the Bible says he will wipe all tears “out of” our eyes (see Revelation 21:4), as if he would take away not only the tears, but the tear-ducts themselves (in the resurrection body), because they would no longer be needed. It is not only the tears that God will take away, but also the sorrow and loss that gave rise to them. Lord, hasten that day!
Now that day has not yet come. And until then there will be tears. But there is also the Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief, who says in this book, “See if there is any sorrow like my sorrow” (Lamentations 1:12). He plumbed the depths of sorrow when he suffered on the cross. And no one is more ready or more able to walk with you through the valley of grief, sorrow, and loss than Jesus Christ.