As Jesus approaches the tomb of his friend Lazarus, he broke down and cried.
When Lazarus was seriously ill Jesus had been sent for but he hadn’t responded. Jesus could have left immediately and healed Lazarus and in doing so he would have saved himself the deep pain of mourning the death of his friend.
The Bible makes it clear that Jesus knew that Lazarus would rise from the dead but this didn’t stop him feeling sorrow and pain in the meantime. The miracle was around the corner but Jesus felt the deep pain and loss as any of us would as he was surrounded by sorrow and grief.
In this famous story in John 11 we encounter Jesus who clearly knows it is all going to be okay in the end. He allows the tragedy to unfold and at the beginning of the chapter he appears indifferent. By the end of the account though we see the pain that Jesus felt and this makes it all the more astonishing that he didn’t intervene sooner.
God doesn’t always spare us the pain of life but we do know that as we endure the sorrows that life can bring that he weeps with us.
God is at work! Sometimes he rescues miraculously, sometimes he intervenes in other ways but in every circumstance he walks with us. As we cry out ‘why God’, our words don’t bounce off an indifferent God, rather our cries are received by the God who weeps with us.
God feels pain but he doesn’t run the universe in a way that causes him the least stress and anguish and he doesn’t distance himself from our suffering.
One day God will make a new heaven and a new Earth and in this new creation there will be no more death, suffering or pain. It would be easier and much less painful for God to begin this new creation now but instead he waits and is at work in the suffering and brokenness of this world. He is at work in the sorrow and sadness bringing hope, love and comfort to everyone who will receive from him.
If you are consumed by sorrow and suffering then I hope and pray that you will know the presence and comfort of Jesus who weeps with you.