I am adding a series to my blog this year. I will continue book reviews (even though I missed one for January) and 12 Step posts (my most recent one is here). I will also have one challenge per month to help create community and I will continue my once a month highlight/lowlight.
I will also be adding a series called When Jesus Meets….
Jesus met a lot of people during his short ministry. Those interactions teach us a lot about how we should interact with people today. I hope this series will be encouraging and inspiring, and as always I hope it will generate discussion.
As we think about the different types of people we come across each day, we must think about how we treat them, how we welcome them, how love them.
I recently taught a two class series on why I still believe. There are many reasons not to believe: sickness and death; natural disasters; racist, close-minded words and attitudes; religious intolerance; poverty worldwide. I have had friends ask me how I can still believe when all of these things exist.
And to be honest, I have had to ask myself the same question: why do I still believe? Some mornings, I question my faith. We live in a Christian culture that often does not welcome disbelief and questioning. So I don’t always know what to do with my questions.
But I have learned to be okay with asking them. I have trusted friends and spiritual advisers I can go to with my questions. Reading the Psalms reminds me that I can express and all emotions in prayer and worship to God. Listening to the lives of friends and family members who have experienced intense moments of doubt have set the example for me: it is possible to question and still maintain faith.
And there is an encounter with Jesus that expresses this.
In John 11, Jesus is informed his friend, Lazarus, is sick. Jesus waits before going to the village where Lazarus was. Jesus knew something miraculous was going to happen. He waited so that it would have been four days after Lazarus died before he arrived. Four days was significant for the Jews, so Jesus made sure He waited that long. The wait would make the miracle even more magnificent.
But when Jesus arrived, the sisters of Lazarus, Martha and Mary, come to Him and express their sorrow. Martha says, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Mary came with all of the mourners behind her.
And the story says that when He saw the sorrow of all those present, Jesus wept.
Wait, what? Jesus? The guy who knew that Lazarus was about to be raised from the dead? The guy who knew what was going on? The guy who had all this power and authority? Yes. That guy.
And that is why I still believe. Because no matter what I am facing, no matter what pain I am experiencing, no matter what question I am asking Jesus weeps with me. The one person who had it all together (or at the least came the closest to having it all together as anyone) wept. Jesus cared so much about Martha and Mary that He cried with them. He did not pacify them or mollify them or disregard their emotion or tell them, “It will be okay.”
He didn’t do any of that.
When Jesus meets those who are in the midst of grief and sorrow, He weeps.
Sometimes, words are not necessary. Sometimes, actions are not needed.
Sometimes, we need to weep with others.
Just like Jesus did.