John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible and is often memorized jokingly amongst Sunday school children to win a prize. Admittedly, I was probably one of those children. And yet, how this verse has come to mean so much to me in the past couple weeks…
Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus, had died and his family was mourning. Although Jesus knew he had the power to give Lazarus life, he wept for his friend. He wept with his friends. He was deeply troubled and moved by their grief. Wow.
Over the past 3 weeks I have been surrounded by great love and compassion for which I must give thanks. Unfortunately, I have also been told some very unhelpful things, like I should not cry anymore, or that I should be okay by now. The truth is I am not okay. I feel pain like a gaping hole in my being. I have a deep sense of loss. I have endless unanswerable questions.
I know that to see someone like me, who is by nature rather hilarious, with puffy
red eyes more days than not, is difficult. I wish I could be what they want me to be. However, along with my sense of humor, the other gift I’ve been given is my inability to hide my emotions. And right now, because I cannot hide, the only thing I have to offer anyone is my vulnerability and brokenness.
Vulnerability and brokenness are not “good” words. They are sad and scary words. Yet, Jesus too, offered the world his vulnerability and brokenness. He was “a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering,” (Isaiah 53:3). Thankfully, though I do not quite understand what this means yet, it also says “by his wounds we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:5).
It is absurd to me that I have been told not to grieve. I mean, if Jesus (who was about to raise Lazarus from the dead) can weep for his friend, why can’t I? Maybe it’s bad business? Maybe I’m not selling this Jesus saves stuff well enough if I don’t have a smile plastered on my face at all times?
But then I remember that the Gospel is not for sale. So it’s not my job to sell it. There are moments (like right now) when I become so angry that I don’t think I can take it anymore. And then I think about Jesus. I think about the words that caused me to believe in him. He was the most loving man who ever lived. Certainly that is why he wept. He was so filled with love. And if we claim to be his body, we also should be so filled with love. But love means you are open to being hurt. Love means you are vulnerable to grief.
I am grieving. My family is grieving. And the Jesus I know is moved by our grief, and is weeping with us.
Aloha Means Te Amo,