2011-06-09 - Acquainted with Grief
Originally Published 1997-11-22
There are several friends, acquaintances and co-workers I know who are going through some difficult personal times. It is very easy to see God as distant and far removed from our daily problems. It is easy to think that He is untouched by the pains you and I suffer. One of the shortest passages of scripture argues the opposite to be true.
John 11:35 Jesus wept. (NAS)
When Jesus was informed that His friend, Lazarus, was very ill by a special messenger He delayed going. A messenger of this kind was not an inexpensive proposition. No cost had been spared to find Jesus and let Him know the situation. The wild thing is that Jesus already knew. He knew that Lazarus would die and that He would raise Lazarus from the dead. Before they set out for Bethany, Jesus told His companions directly that Lazarus was dead. It was no surprise to Him at all. But still the heart of Jesus is moved to grief and tears over the passing of Lazarus.
At the cross, only Jesus' mother is present. Joseph, Jesus' stepfather is nowhere to be seen. I can only think that Joseph had died. Jesus knew the grief of losing this man who had given so much of his heart and time. Joseph taught Jesus as any father would have. I'm sure there is a special touch to the relationship between Jesus and Joseph, as dear as any parent and child. Jesus knew the grief of having to bury his beloved stepfather.
Luke 19:41-44 And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. 43 "For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, 44 and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation." (NAS)
Ironic that Jesus knew the grief of rejection of the people He had come to save from the fire of Hell itself. It cost Jesus to come. He laid aside His glory and majesty and put on human flesh forevermore to reach out to us. Whatever Jesus desired to be clothed in could simply appear at a thought. The wonder is how He lowered Himself to walk among us, and how much abuse He suffered at our miserable hands. He could have indeed called legions of angels to destroy the world and set Him free from the cross, but He endured it for us.
John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (NAS)
In all this, Jesus shows us He knows our pain and grief. The Master leaves us with a note of encouragement. You will have trouble, troubling times and heartache. But the world that troubles you, I have crushed. Jesus will one day dethrone the usurper and reclaim this earth. The world system the enemy uses to attack us is doomed. One day, Jesus will stop and wipe the tears from our eyes, and we will know we are safe from all harm. What a day that will be.
Dear Jesus, Thank you for letting us know that You understand how we feel in difficult times, in sadness and tears. It is comforting to know that we are not alone in the valleys. It is thrilling to know there is a time coming when we can be free from these pains and heartbreaks. Keep us focused on You as our example and Heaven as our goal. Amen.
Grace & Peace,