When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and told Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11: 32)
Mary’s emotion was so raw. Her grief and anguish radiated from her body. I can almost hear her words in between her sobs. I picture her whole body just shaking, desperately wanting her brother back, knowing that Jesus Himself could have prevented Lazarus’ death. Maybe this picture is so real to me because it once was me…
The day that I got the phone call telling me that my husband and six kids were in a car accident that took the life of my husband, I immediately went into shock. I was able to handle the initial days following his death with strength and poise, giving God glory and praise. But several weeks later the reality of the situation hit me smack in the face. I was 36 years old. I had 6 kids. I was a widow. I moved into a dark and depressed place. In my eyes, the “unfairness” of the situation was almost too much for me to even bear. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and just really missed my husband. I wanted to die too. Death seemed so much easier than to carry the whole weight of the world on my shoulders. Like Mary, I wrestled with the fact that God could have stopped the accident. He was powerful enough to have prevented Kevin’s death. But He chose not to. Being authentic with God, like Mary, telling Him my feelings was such a huge release. I knew that I wanted to fully trust God. I knew that I wanted this tragedy to grow me. Wrestling with God was critical for this growth. I needed to pour my heart and feelings out to Him. God is a BIG God. He could handle my raw emotions. He wasn’t going to turn His back on me because I was honest with Him. In fact, I believe the opposite is true. I believe that He loved the fact that I was authentic with Him. In fact, as I read on in John, I get a better picture of God’s response to my sorrow…
When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, He was angry in His spirit and deeply moved. “Where have you put him?” He asked.
“Lord,” they told Him, “come and see.”
Jesus wept. (John 11: 33-35)
Jesus was in fact deeply moved by my sorrow. I think His anger here refers to His anger about human suffering and death — that He knows that life here on earth is full of pain, hurt, struggles. He knows that life, in the Garden, was never supposed to be this way. He knows that His life would have to be spared to conquer death. He knows how much I was hurting, how broken I was (am). And what was His response? Jesus wept. Jesus bitterly sobbed over my loss. Over my pain. Over my devastation. Over my grief. Oh, how thankful I am to be serving a heavenly Father who the creator of emotions — who cares so deeply for me that He weeps with me.
So I was faced with this…. God could have chosen to spare my husband’s life, saving me and my children from years of agony. However, for whatever reason, God decided that Kevin’s time here on earth was up. It certainly was not the plan that I would have picked for my life. But, I know and believe that God is God. He will use all of my pain and suffering for good. He will redeem the years that the locusts have stolen. He will turn these ashes into beauty. I believe this with all of my heart. And God, in His goodness and mercy, has shown me little snapshots of how He is working all of this for His good. I will choose to trust Him for all of my days.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die – ever.” (John 11:25-26)
God, I thank You that You are a tender-hearted Father. I praise You for being my Rock, my Fortress. Thank You that You want my heart, all of it. I am so grateful that I can be honest with You, sharing my deepest emotions. And Lord, I praise You for eternal life!