I have written and rewritten this post at least a dozen times. This week has been one of the hardest, saddest and overwhelming of my life.
A week ago my sweet friend and colleague left her earthly home and entered the presence of Jesus. Her passing was sudden, unexpected, and unexplained.
The wave of grief that has been left in her passing has been a sobering reminder of just how much one life touches others.
Every single day.
She was one of the kindest people one could meet and she walked this earth with such grace and love you couldn’t help but like her instantly. She left behind three beautiful children, an adoring husband, and a school rocked to its absolute core.
Once the initial shock of her passing wore off, I began to ferociously search the Scriptures for a place where Jesus had lost a close, close friend.
My search came to John where Jesus is at the grave of His dear friend Lazarus. It had been four days since he had died.
Now when Mary came to the where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her were also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.
I have experienced death a few times before and there is something to be said about that fourth day. The shock has wore off, some of the wailing has stopped, a few coherent thoughts begin to resurface. Sometimes you can start to process what has happened.
Mary and Martha, in their grief, accuse him of not caring, not showing up. But when Jesus got there, He wept.
Jesus did what I have been doing for a week. The uncontrollable sobbing that rocks you to the core. He cried until it hurt and in so doing showed the world His absolute humanity.
Don’t think for a minute that those around him didn’t do the same. Death is so final and not at all part of the life He wants us to have.
But, I have discovered through all of my grief and tears, that God’s love is bigger than all of the horror of death. God, who loves us more than we can fathom, came for this very reason.
To conquer death. Not to stop it, but to overcome it.
I John 5:4 says, “And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith”.
As you read further in the story, Jesus pulls himself together and says the following beautiful words to Martha and, just like himself, performs a miracle.
“Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me. When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go”.
Christ showed His power that day. He showed Lazarus’ family and the friends around that He is the reason we are able to have hope and joy. He is the one who we can put our faith in, even in the most difficult of circumstances. He is the one that brings us peace during horrific loss.
I had bought this plant for my dear friend the day before she died. When I came home from weeping with friends I saw it on my counter.
It was God’s whisper to a broken heart that will heal in time. That whisper is just like Jesus. He meets us in our broken and weeps with us and says “I will love you, always.”
Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.