Grief is a universal experience and one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I recently read in John 11 about the story of Lazarus’ death and resurrection. Jesus knew before He heard about Lazarus’ illness that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead and that it was all for God’s glory. Even with that foreknowledge scripture tells us that Jesus was grieved in the loss of Lazarus however brief it was.
Jesus was grieved by the emotions of his friends. Verse 33 says “when Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” Seeing Mary and her friends weeping was enough to move Jesus in a deep way. I’m not a Greek scholar but I’m betting “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” is pretty similar to a good ugly cry. He could have told Mary and her friends not to be sad, to focus on the eternal end, or could have made Lazarus raise from the dead right then. Instead of those things, He stood with Mary and her friends and entered into their grief. Not only did he allow them to experience their own grief, but He experienced that grief himself.
Not only was Jesus grieved by the emotions of his friends, but He was grieved by the death of Lazarus. Verse 35 tells us that “Jesus wept” standing in front of the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus was minutes away from performing one of His most amazing miracles and He was moved by grief and loss. He didn’t have to stop and weep in front of the tomb because He knew the next words He would utter would change the end of the story but he still was deeply, ugly cry grieved.
Wept * Sob * Wail
The word Who became flesh. The creator of the universe who came to dwell among us. The one who writes the beginning and the end of our stories and weaves them into His tapestry of grace. That same Jesus grieved in the middle of the story.
Jesus, was moved greatly by temporary loss. Not only was He grieved, but He showed it to His friends and followers.
What freedom there is for us in the middle! In that moment where all seems lost. Even when we know that the end is coming and that what seems to be an end now is only the middle of the story. Even Jesus wept in the middle and I think that shows it’s ok for us to as well.