The Gospel of John, chapter 11 –
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many folks had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the folks who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
In times of brokenness and hurt, in times of loss, and suffering, and death, God weeps. It is a simple as that. God knows the pain we feel. God sees the hurt that is around us in the world – and God is there alongside us, weeping, carrying us through.
And this is true for depression, and for alcoholism. It is true for the suffering of trying times and the pain that comes with the death of a loved one. God is there, and God weeps.
Even as Lazarus will come forth from the grave, even as death has lost its hold on him, Jesus mourns because his friends Mary and Martha, you and I, we mourn.
And we too shall come forth out of the tomb. Death has lost its hold on us too. And we look forward to that day when all God’s saints can be reunited. That day is still coming. Till then, we are held in God’s hands and arms – and God weeps beside us.
If you could, say a prayer for those in our community and our world that are struggling this week. Those prayers go a long way.