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If We Love, We Will Weep

I fought back tears many times during our emotional, five-year roller-coaster ride. Sometimes I won; often the tears were victorious. The fight has continued for the past 30 years. Deep love makes us vulnerable to deep pain. We all respond to pain in different ways, but as Simon and Garfunkel sang, “A rock feels no pain, and an Island never cries.”  

One of the more amazing verses in the Bible is John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” Not only is it the shortest verse in the Bible, it overflows with astounding insights. At its core is the reality that Jesus experienced grief. The mystery of the deity and humanity of Christ has puzzled theologians for 2,000 years. But the reality that Jesus became fully man brings hope that God fully understands

Jesus felt pain. He knows what it is like to hurt deep inside. He experienced the same emotional anguish that I do. He was a grown man who cried! 

Jesus knew loss. He knew what it was like to experience the death of a close friend. Yes, Jesus’ response was strategic; He waited three days before going to see Lazarus after He got word His friend was ill. His delay allowed death to claim Lazarus and bring deep sorrow to Mary and Martha. But like the sisters, Jesus was heartbroken over the loss of His friend. Death won another short-term victory, and the separation was painful. Jesus wept with Lazarus’ family and friends. 

Jesus wept! A grown man cried. He felt deep pain and expressed His emotions openly. Cultural differences aside, the pain was real and so was His response. No granite-faced stoicism. No macho sunglasses. No sneaking off to a side room for a moment alone. Jesus authentically released the pain He carried. 

But to fully understand John 11:35, we must jump back 30 verses and understand another simple and direct statement. John 11:5 says, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” Jesus’ decisions and actions were always motivated by love. He loved all three siblings – Mary, Martha, and Lazarus – but He expressed His love differently to each. Jesus’ love for Lazarus was a tough love that forced him to experience the agony of death and the horror of three days in the tomb.  

Not our normal view of love. This kind of love is beyond our understanding. But we trust that Jesus loved Lazarus enough to let him experience death, burial, and an amazing return to life because He knew this painful path was the best for Lazarus and all concerned.  

But it was painful, and because He loved Lazarus, Jesus wept! 

Dan Bolin


Refueling in Flight Ministries, Inc


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