I press my ear against the babies chest and listen to the sound of grace keep time with the echo of life. Trying to let the sound of life replace the emptiness of death. Trying to let the blessedness of abundance drown out the broken despair of suffering. All the pain. All the mess. All the questions that seem to be answered by rejection. I listen to his heart, to try and hear my own. To be reminded that a broken heart can still beat. To be reminded that there is no life with out first dying. To be reminded that beauty can come from a heap of despair.
We’re so quick to assume betrayal. To doubt the promise. We hasten to the hammer and let despair drive the nails. We let our brokenness tell us He’s not who He claims to be. We cry “crucify Him”, when He doesn’t bow to our standards. We believe in signs, we believe when things go our way…but when heaven is silent and all is still-except the storm within. When the cries of a collapsing soul drown out the cry of hope. When the slivers of dashed dreams cut our eyes, skewing our perception. When hurt and headache hang hope, cutting off our oxygen supply. When the mangled mess of mishaps and misfortune threatens to massacre the goodness promised.
What do you do?
Raise your head up. Don’t let despair be your doom. Lift your bloody and bruised eyes up, up to the One who not only sees you but cries with you.
The most beautiful marriage of two words is: Jesus wept.
He wept because brokenness hurts. He being the God-Man, knows how heavy the crushing weight of disappointment and despair can be.
He understands. Not that we hurt-but why we hurt. He realizes how we wait and wonder. He gets why we are prone to pacing and pleading. He knows the need and so…sometimes…He waits. He lets us feel the ache of disappointment…because He loves us.
Wait. What? He loves us, so He leaves us waiting?
Love comes rushing and fixes the problem right away. Right?
Love does everything to push back pain. Right?
These are questions Mary and Martha must’ve asked. The sisters sent for thier Lord. For thier friend.
“Now, Jesus loved Martha and her sister Mary and Lazarus. So when he heard Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two days longer.” John 11:4
So they waited. Their hope circled around the fact that He has healed so many-of course He would heal their brother. They rested in the fact that He was on the way.
But then, Lazarus drew his last breath. He died before Jesus came.
4 days after his burial, Jesus arrived.
It was too late. The tomb was closed. The body was cold with death, the sisters hearts cold with despair.
Their response was the same: “If only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
If only Jesus would have showed earlier.
If only He would’ve moved a little quicker.
If only He hadn’t waited.
“But when Jesus saw her weeping, He was deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled…Jesus wept.” John 11:34-35”
He wept even though He knew what He was going to do. He wept because the promise of the future doesn’t always take away the pain of the moment. He wept because He felt the weight of waiting.
As they came to the tomb, the stone seemed to seal their story. It was too late. That seemed to be the closing line of their plot.
Yet, Jesus had one more thing to say.
“Lazarus, come out!”
In that moment despair was dissolved. The chains of brokenness were released.
But what was the point?
What’s the point in the pain?
Could He not just bypass all the tears and tragedy?
“This illness will not end in death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Som of God may be glorified.” John 11:4
The point is that love glorifies, not by the absence of pain but through the pain. There’s no short cut to glory.
You see we want a healing, while Jesus has a resurrection in mind.
One is good. The other is glorious. And divine love is always after glory.
Not selfish glory but shared glory.
It’s shared because we get to be part of it. He allows us in, but only through suffering.
Not fair, you may argue. No, it’s not.
But not for the reasons you may think. It’s not fair because the crowned Prince of heaven, shared what’s rightfully His with man; with people who are 1 part water and 1 part dust, the Word made flesh, the Living Logos, shares.
“Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.” 1 Peter 4:13
Pain could be prevented but then glory would be perverted. It’s through the purity of pain that we are truly freed.
Sometimes it’s the wait that makes us candidates for glory.
Wait for it. He’s coming.