Our pastor spoke on John 11 recently - the story of the death and resurrection of Lazarus. If you regularly read my blog, you might remember that he preached on Lazarus last spring and I posted about it. This time, I was caught by a verse I have heard over and over and over but had never given much thought.
Most students know that the shortest verse of the Bible is John 11:35 - Jesus wept. Before this Sunday, though, I had never looked at it in context. Jesus knew Lazarus was sick, but chose to wait a couple days before coming. He has endured the questions from Martha and then again from Mary about his delay - "If you had been here...." He knows there is a larger plan in motion. Still, he weeps.
Why? He knew the end of the grief was moments away. He knew there would be great rejoicing and celebration soon.
Was he empathizing with Mary and Martha, and the crowd of mourners, caught up in the emotion of the moment?
Was it from exhaustion and the emotional toll of waiting and enduring the questions and grief of others?
Was it from the knowledge that the greater plan - the waiting - while necessary had brought pain to a family he loved?
In the grief of the last year, I have struggled sometimes to figure out how to relate to God - to One who had the power to change the course of last year but chose to have things play out the way they did. There were plenty of moments when I had to choose to trust that God cared and was at work, even if I wasn't sure how to feel about Him. In this two word verse, I have a different picture in my mind of how things might have been playing out in Heaven as we walked through the last year. Perhaps Jesus wept with us, knowing that this was what was going to happen, but grieving with us over the pain we were going to and had been experiencing.