Sometimes, life is hard.
And sometimes, it’s way more than hard.
God is so big and glorious and wonderful – and still, just so confusing. And through all of the questions that come with the hardships of life, He somehow makes beautiful things out of the ashes, and out of us.
The person of Jesus has become so near to me lately. The phrase, “Jesus wept” has always felt like the answer to a trivia question to me. The shortest sentence in the Bible. Two little words. It’s in John 11, and it tells the story of Jesus resurrecting a very dead Lazarus. Jesus shows up to the place where Lazarus had already been dead for 4 days. Talk about hope being gone. He shows up and this section of the chapter is entitled, “Jesus comforts the sisters.”
This was His response to Lazarus’ sister:
“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” He asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept.” (John 11:33-35)
Earlier this summer, I was sharing with a friend some hard things that were going on in my life. I was explaining it matter-of-factly, without any emotion (which, if you know me is pretty rare). While we were talking, she started crying. She actually apologized because she was crying and I wasn’t! But in that moment, I felt so understood. She wasn’t crying out sympathy or or pity. Her heart was broken for me and she was feeling what I was feeling. I felt like I could breathe. Like someone got a glimpse into the unspeakable hurt, and I wasn’t alone.
Have you ever experienced anything like that? The understanding eyes of someone who feels your pain; someone who cries with you because it hurts them to see you hurting. That moment where no one is talking and you simply lock eyes in understanding heartbreak. You show up feeling like a big fat mess. Maybe you use lots of words, maybe none at all. But suddenly they join you in your mess, and it feels like you can breathe knowing someone else feels what you feel. That it’s okay to be a big fat mess. That your pain is in a safe place to be released.
Jesus has always known the beginning from the end. He knew He would be raising Lazarus up, literally that same day! In possibly moments, he would be alive and reunited with his sisters. And yet, Jesus felt the speechless hurt of another and cried with her.
And He cries with me. Even though He still knows the beginning from the end. He knows the joy that awaits the chaos that feels so heavy. He sees the purpose behind every heartbreak. And although He urges us to hold onto hope; and reminds us that His strength is made perfect when we are weak, His heart breaks when ours is broken.
He sits next to me on the couch, holds my hand and feels everything I feel. And is even willing to go to God on my behalf.
“Who then will condemn us? No one – for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” (Romans 8:34)
He sits beside you in the car, or at your desk at work. He cries with you, and He pleads with your Heavenly Father when you are struggling. He sees the beauty that will come from whatever is breaking you. But He doesn’t expect you to always see it.
Your pain is safe. Your doubts don’t discourage Him. He’s praying over you when you aren’t able to pray yourself. Your heart is safe with the One who loves you, and died with your name in mind. You are understood, and you are not alone.
What a friend. What a Savior.