Mary and Martha are deep in despair. Their brother, Lazarus, has just died. To add to their sorrow, they live with the knowledge that it could have all been prevented. If only Jesus had been around, He could have stopped this. Jesus loved Lazarus, He would have certainly done something to end his demise, but now it is too late, and sorrow has enveloped them.
We’ve all been there in one way or another. A loved one dies and an emptiness in the heart is all that remains. We can’t understand, sometimes, why God would let these things happen. Why wasn’t He there to prevent this? Where was He when we needed Him most? Why must sorrow rule the day when a miracle could have been given?
Sorrow follows many things, not just death. When we part ways with someone we have loved, when we make a mistake that costs a friendship, when we have been betrayed by someone we trusted. Sorrow is a real thing, and it touches everyone. It’s a symptom of a broken world locked into the consequences of our sin.
But, of course, there is more to the story. It’s easy to get lost in our sorrow when we’re trying to come to grasps with many of life’s dilemmas, but is that necessarily bad? Sorrow is often what we need to overcome misfortune. It’s part of the process of coming to terms with tragedy. Sorrow most often comes from a place of love and, within it, we express our love through remembrance.
Sorrow can be a way to connect us to God who promises that, “He will wipe away every tear from (our) eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things (will have) passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
Through our sorrow, God can show us that he is still with us even as we suffer grief. After Lazarus had been dead four days, Jesus returned and with Him came hope. Doing things that only God could do, Jesus cries out, “Lazarus, come out,” and he did. Though he was dead already, four days, he was brought back to life. Mary and Martha and all with them were witness to the glory of God. That same glory and power watches over us as well. In our sorrow we have the same Savior bringing us back to life.
Can we count on Him to raise our loved ones as well? Yes!! One day we will all rise from the dead. It may not happen in the hospital bed (Jesus no longer has to prove anything) but it will most assuredly happen when He comes again, bringing a new Jerusalem and a new earth with Him that are free from the sorrow and grief of our current world.
Paul spoke for God to the Romans when he said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:18-25)
Just as He did for Martha and Mary, Jesus has a plan to bring us back to hope from our sorrow. Eventually He will come again to raise all the faithful to new life. Once again His glory will be shown in fulfilled promises.
In our world, sorrow is present because we chose to know the difference between good and evil. Death and all the other things that cause us sorrow are the results of free will making the wrong decisions. To understand the difference, we must live within it and sorrow is a byproduct of that education. Praise God he didn’t leave it that way. Through His Son’s death and resurrection, He has opened the way to a place and time when sorrow will be no more. Until then, we wait with patience. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for providing a way beyond our sorrows. When we are within the grasps of sorrow in this world, help us to remember that it is just a momentary condition because of Your grace and glory. Bring us to peace and help us to live each moment for you. Amen.