Today’s Bible reading is 1 Samuel 8 and John 11.
Illness. Death. Grief. They are some of the hardest experiences in life. What makes them even harder? When it seems as if we’re experiencing them alone.
In John 11, a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany. When Jesus hears, he stays two days longer in the place where he was, and Lazarus dies. Upon his arrival, Jesus listens as not one, but two sisters lament, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Rays of divine glory shine throughout John 11. “I am the resurrection and the life.” “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” “Lazarus, come out.” The claims and accomplishments of Jesus were astounding.
But could I focus your attention on a phrase that draws us into the very heart of Jesus?
When Jesus saw Mary weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit… (John 11:33)
Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb… (John 11:38)
Deeply moved. Jesus was deeply moved by a friend’s illness. He “loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (11:5). Jesus was deeply moved by a loved one passing through the valley of the shadow of death. “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him” (11:11). Jesus was deeply moved by the tears of Lazarus’ sisters. “Jesus wept” (11:35).
Illness. Death. Grief. They are some of the hardest experiences in life. And when it seems as if we’re experiencing them alone, it’s even harder. But if John 11 teaches us anything, it’s that we’re really not alone.
We won’t always understand his timing, his plans, or his methods, but we are not alone. Our Savior knows what it is to be deeply moved. I believe he continues to be deeply moved when a sinner repents, a prodigal comes home, a song of praise is sung from the heart, or an act of selfless service is performed in the shadows. I believe the One who called his disciples to weep with those who weep continues to be deeply moved by our grief. We are not alone in our pain.
And even when the time comes for me to walk through the valley of death’s shadow, I don’t have to be afraid. “For you are with me.” My Lord is also my friend, a friend with a heart that has been and continues to be deeply moved.
He still asks, as he asked Martha, “Do you believe this?”