Before my husband and I got married, we would talk on the phone for hours on end. From the little I heard about him through our common friend, I knew he loved God and loved reading and studying His Word. Sam can quote Scripture like nobody’s business, and I knew, sooner or later, he would ask me what my favorite Bible verse was. Now my defense mechanism (in most cases) has been to say something silly or funny. I try to dodge every question as much as possible when I don’t know too much about a particular subject. So when the dreaded question finally came up, I was prepared! I tried to lighten the conversation by quoting John 11:35 – Jesus wept. Why? Because it is the shortest verse in the Bible and easy to remember. At the time, this verse didn’t mean anything to me… Sam, being the nice guy that he is, laughed and I got away.
Ironically, this verse is now one of my favorites. The more I read John 11 and dwelt on it, the more I could see and understand the heart of Jesus. Something I often wonder about is, if Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, why did He cry? I mean, He already knew everything was going to be okay, so really, why did He mourn with the sisters from Bethany? He could have just told them what He was going to do in a few minutes, but instead, JESUS WEPT! Why waste those tears?
Because, as divine as He was, He was, 100%, fully human too! This realization completely changed my perspective of God. I’m understanding that He is not just a God that answers prayers, performs miracles, fulfills desires (for me, they’re usually food-related!), heals sickness etc. It’s true that He does all that, but there’s so much more! He feels!! Yes, He feels and He knows exactly what it means to be sad, disappointed and hurt. He knows the pain of separation and He cries with you.
It is always easy to be there with someone when they are happy and have everything they need. It is so fun to laugh with them and share in the excitement and joy. But what happens when someone we love goes through something that is difficult to handle? We go MIA because it becomes too difficult for us to handle! But that’s not what Jesus did. He didn’t run away from the pain. He went towards it and made it His problem. He loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and He often hung out with them. I bet they had some really good times together and I’m sure it was amazing to be partners in the ministry. Jesus was with them through it all and He didn’t abandon them when things got dark. Instead, He went to them, loved on them, was moved by their pain and anguish, and cried with them. And after all the weeping and mourning was over, He brought them their miracle of joy. Wow! Such senseless, outrageous, crazy love!
I have no doubt that God answers prayer and fulfills our desires. But before He does that, He acknowledges our deepest emotions and feelings. He tells us that we are precious to Him. He looks at us through the eyes of love and asks us why we are crying. He doesn’t shut us up or shrug it off and ask us to be quiet. He listens and feels with us. That is why the Holy Spirit groans with us. He is our Comforter because He understands exactly what we go through, no matter how small or big.
But sometimes my response to Him is, “I don’t need comforting; I need my answer. I want my needs met. I wish You were here earlier because then, none of this would’ve happened.” What I fail to realize is that His response is to first let me know I am not alone. All I need to do is acknowledge His presence and allow Him to embrace me. I need to let Him be God. I need to learn to be vulnerable enough to let Him share in the pain and comfort me, because He is my Father and not my vending machine.
To the person reading this, I know this may not be a very significant or deep thought, but if you’re anything like me and you know what I’m talking about, can we allow Him to come to us and just love us, even when it doesn’t make sense? Even when we’re in a rush to get what we need? Can we let Him feel with us before He brings us our miracle? Can we let Him cry with us when we are hurting?
Because that is who He is – He is a God that feels and understands how you feel.
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