Yesterday we attended a dedication of some benches at the local high school. Our freshman daughter wanted to support a friend whose brother died last year. I’m proud of her for asking to be woken up on a Saturday. I am equally proud of about a hundred kids who got up early to celebrate with this boy’s family. They even put their phones in their pockets for twenty minutes! It was heartwarming.
There are times when you think you are doing something for someone else and God has different plans. I thought I was going out of respect, but I was deeply moved by the event. We can uniquely and unfortunately sympathize with parents who have lost a child. While we have so many questions about Kylie’s death, as the parents of a child who took his own life, they have more. None will ever be answered, but we can navigate storms together.
A young man named Darren, who is a student pastor at North Point Church, opened and briefly discussed John 11:35. Brief is the right word for it. The shortest verse in the Bible and a favorite of young boys everywhere who are forced to memorize scripture.
(I would add a translation note, but I think it is all of them. In fact, this might be the only one that scholars agree on.)
People most often try to theorize why Jesus wept. Was it because he loved Lazarus? Did he weep for the mourning sisters? Or did he cry because Lazarus was experiencing the perfection of heaven and he was about to pull him back. There is no knowing the answer and I am frankly tired of unanswerable questions.
Darren didn’t make an attempt at an explanation. What he touched on wasn’t why he wept, he talked about what Jesus didn’t do. Brilliant! WWJD has become an iconic acronym, yet here we have an example of WJDD.
Even though he is the God of comfort, he did NOT give it.
Although he is the all-knowing God, he did NOT give an explanation of why it happened.
In that instant, he did NOT tell them what was going to happen.
He did NOT provide answers, even though he was the only one privy to them.
He participated in their sorrow and just cried. Before his God nature took over, Jesus allowed his human self to grieve with the sisters. Beautiful Tears.
Let that be a lesson to us. The next time someone in your life is going through heartache, loss, or sorrow, remember that words will almost always fail and there will be time for action later. Take a cue from what Jesus didn’t do and simply weep with them.