Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Shoulder to Cry On

By Lacey Gunter

Life can be so difficult at times. For anyone who is experiencing the pain and sorrow that comes from injury, loss or difficult trials, I wish I could jump through this web page and give you a tender hug and a shoulder to cry on.  One thing I can do is tell you that you are not experiencing this alone.

In chapter 11 of John in the New Testament of the Bible we hear the story of Lazarus dying and being brought back to life by Jesus. In the King James version of the Bible we read in versus 32-35

32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,
34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept.

Isn't verse 35 an interesting scripture to think about? We have no reason to think Jesus is weeping for Lazarus’s soul here. There is nothing in the chapter that even hints at the idea that Lazarus has died in sin. And Jesus understood the plan of salvation and the purpose of death and the assurance of a beautiful and better place after this earthly life better than anyone else who has ever lived on earth.

One might try to conjecture here that Jesus is simply morning the loss of a friend. He is sad because he believes he will not have the joy of interacting with Lazarus again until Jesus himself has passed on and returned to Heaven. Of course this idea doesn't seem very plausible since we learn earlier in the chapter that Jesus's main purpose in coming to Lazarus's house was to raise Lazarus from the dead. Not much of a sorrow inducing separation.

And yet, it says that he groaned in his spirit and he wept. The only conclusion I can come to here is that Jesus is troubled and weeping because of the sorrow he feels seeing the great sadness Mary and the other Jews are experiencing. He knows he will shortly end their mourning by bringing Lazarus back to life, yet he is so touched by their tender and brokenhearted feelings that he can't help but cry with them first. Wow, what a powerful and expressive demonstration of the true love and compassion of the Savior.

I believe the Savior loves each of us this way.  We may not get the privilege to witness it, but perhaps the Savior has sat and cried with each one of us at one time or another.  And after both of your tears have finally dried, Christ still has the power to heal your heart and cleanse your soul. You are not alone! I pray you can feel Christ's love and compassion and that you may have the strength and courage to take another step and face another day.

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