Monday, April 3, 2017

Jesus Wept

Yesterday at mass the Gospel reading was the story of the resurrection of Lazarus.  If you are unfamiliar with the story, the shortened version is this.  Lazarus, brother to Martha and Mary and dear friend of Jesus, has died.  Jesus is called to come to Bethany, but is delayed (by his choice).  When He arrives, Martha tells him if He had only come sooner He could've saved Lazarus.  And in His final miracle from the Gospel of John before His passion begins,  Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. (You can read the actual gospel here....the story teller did a much better job.)

I bring up this gospel, because although I was familiar with the raising of Lazarus, and had heard it many times before, yesterday in Mass I heard one line very differently than I had ever before.  The shortest verse in the Bible.  Jesus wept.  Upon hearing his friend had died and before raising him from the dead, He wept.  I don't know about all of you, but when I envision a person weeping, I see gut wrenching sobs, rivers of tears, and weakness of body.  So when the gospel writer chose to tell us that Jesus wept, he was telling us something great.  Jesus truly God and truly man, shows us His vulnerability and humanness as He mourns the loss of his great friend.  He knows the miracle that is about the ensue, but He takes a moment to allow himself to feel the loss of his friend in front of a crowd of people.  Jesus wept for the loss, He wept for Martha and Mary who had just lost their brother, He weeps for the soul of Lazarus.  Wow.  For the first time, I really saw Jesus as a man and a person, and not as a God looking down up earth from His thrown ready to perform His miracle.  In that moment, we see a man who feels and experiences all that we humans feel and experience.

And then ever so gently, the Lord began to show me, his daughter that He loves as much as He loved Lazarus, that when my boys died, He wept with me too.  Bad things happen to good people.  Humans are flawed, people die...yes, sadly even babies.  And trying to understand it or make sense of it all is way too much for my brain to handle these days, but one thing became very clear to me as the priest read the gospel yesterday.  I don't know why my boys died and I don't know why God didn't provide me my miracle of Lazarus, but I do know without a doubt, when I was weeping and mourning the loss of my sons, Jesus was weeping with and for me, his daughter.

Maybe this is just new to me, and maybe not, but to understand that God joined me in my sorrow, and  shared in that human moment of sorrow with me changes my perspective so very much.  Yes, Christ was there to gather into His arms my children at the gates of heaven, but in a way only God can He was holding me and mourning with me.  And even if He has greater plans for my family that will come from this loss, I know that He also was very much with us in those intense moments of loss.

And you know what friends? He's there with you too.  When our hearts break over grief and loss, His heart breaks too.  He's not only the conductor of all of humanity, but He's also our father and greatest supporter.  Just as it breaks my heart as a mother to see one of my children hurting or sad, it agonizes Him in the same ways.  Yes, He has greater wisdom and knows greater purpose than we do, but he weeps with His children.

My grief journey changed directions a little bit yesterday.  Yes, I'm still sad and wish every day that I had 3 living children to mother here on earth while still carrying my 4th in my belly.  Yes, I will always wish that God spared and saved my children the way He spared Lazarus.  But now when I question and wonder where God was when I losing my sons, I know with out a doubt, He was there, holding my hand, and crying tears with me.

Until Heaven....

Also yesterday morning I read a wonderful reflection on this gospel in my daily Blessed Is She email.  If you'd like to read more on how this story relates to our grief click here.  Also, if you don't know about Blessed Is She...You should.  (Well if you are a woman...)

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