by Susie Crosby
verb: shed tears, cried silently
“Jesus wept.” John 11:35 ESV
This is the famous verse: the shortest one in the Bible. The one that connects us to Jesus through the extremely painful emotion of sadness.
This is the verse that reminds us of how very human Jesus was.
He felt heartbreak.
He knew deep loss.
He experienced the raw ache of grief.
He shed real tears.
This verse is a surprising sentence in middle of the miracle story of Jesus raising Lazarus to life after four days in the tomb. To see Jesus cry must have significantly affected (and possibly confused) the disciples, the crowd, and especially Mary and Martha as they were mourning their brother. I think if I had been there, I would have been a little shocked and probably scared.
Because a lot of people in my life (including me) don’t cry very often. If our eyes well up or our voices crack with emotion, something really, really tough must be going on. Hurt and disappointment happens just as often to people like us, but for many different reasons, our tears get stifled or suppressed.
But Jesus wasn’t holding back. He wasn’t going to act like this wasn’t as difficult as it was. Mary and Martha and the others who were weeping must have felt so cared for. Not only was this their wise, strong friend unashamedly letting his tears fall, but this was Jesus–the One they believed to be the Son of God–grieving with them.
Even though Jesus knew that, in a matter of minutes, he was going to raise their dead brother back to life, he didn’t rush ahead or dismiss their feelings. He paused for a moment to just be with them. The Master, the Teacher, the One everyone was talking about had stopped to share in their pain, and he had actually started to cry.
The night that my Mom was dying was dark and awful.
Even though we knew she was going to be relieved of her sickness,
even though she was going to be with Jesus,
even though we can look forward to spending eternity in Heaven with her, we were devastated.
And we were going to feel terribly sad for a long, long time.
Jesus didn’t rush us past the pain. Instead, he came closer to us that night in the agony of losing her. He felt our pain, too, as we said goodbye until Heaven. He tended our hearts as we started to navigate life without her over the course of the next few years. And he faithfully, compassionately sits with us when the tears still come.
Whether we cry easily or not, we can be encouraged to know that Jesus wept too. I might even dare to suggest that this wasn’t the only time he cried while he walked on the earth. Even though we wish sometimes that he would just rush us through to the “feel better” place, we can be strengthened and comforted by his constant presence and understanding love.
It is okay to sit and cry with Jesus. Yes, he can bring life from death, good from evil, beauty from ashes, and joy from mourning. But in the painful in-between, let him hold your grieving heart. He’s got tears in his eyes, too.
This article was brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Susie is a grateful mom of two (almost) grown boys who currently live and go to school in Honolulu, Hawaii. She and her husband live in a seaside town in the Puget Sound region called Mukilteo. They love to hike and kayak, they are huge Seattle sports fans, and they mostly love hanging out at home with their little dog Koko. Susie teaches P.E., Art, Technology, and Music at an all-kindergarten school which keeps her busy full time. Her passion and joy is sharing encouraging words with the people she loves. She is an active blogger and speaker, and she is the author of Just One Word: 90 Devotions to Invite Jesus In. She is always on the lookout for fun coffee shops, inspiring books, remote beaches, and farmers’ markets. Connect with Susie at www.susiecrosby.com.
Join the conversation: How does knowing God grieves with you make a difference in how you view Him?