I stood before a group of folks overcome with sorrow. None worse than the grieving mother as we laid her 27 year old son to rest following his unexpected death. As I spoke words of truth, hope, and encouragement it dawned on me that everyone in attendance was hurting in some way. Many openly crying while others sat stone-faced, expressionless. Oh the depth of pain varied from person to person, but everyone was hurting.
I couldn’t help but think of Jesus weeping at the tomb of His dear friend Lazarus. Weeping, no doubt because of His immeasurable love for Lazarus but was there another reason? Could it be that Jesus was weeping not just for His friend but for everyone gathered there that day? As I looked out over the congregation Sunday afternoon I couldn’t help but picture Jesus weeping.
You see Jesus’ love for us is beyond measure. It is endless! His love is such that NOTHING can separate us from it. And yet His love is limited – not by Him but by us. What do you mean? Think about this for a second. Jesus’ greatest desire and deepest longing is that we love Him as He loves us. God, the Father is not a dictator or tyrant that can, under penalty of death, demand our love nor is He a mad scientist that hardwired us to love Him. NO, He gives us a freewill, He gives us a choice. We can choose to LOVE God or HATE God. We can WORSHIP, PRAISE and EXALT God or we can MOCK, CURSE and BLASPHEME God. We can ACCEPT His Son Jesus as our Savior and Lord or we can REJECT Jesus. And then in an ultimate act of Love, God honors our decision and He backs off. Never fully leaving us He does back away… and weeps.
He weeps because He knows our pain, our suffering, our sorrow, our fears and yet He is unable to pour out His grace, comfort, and peace into our lives because we have demanded He leave us alone. We have told Him He was not welcome into our lives, our marriages, our families, our schools, our nation and in love He backs away and weeps. He weeps as a broken hearted parent weeps over an adult child that is headed for destruction. Oh mom wants to help. Dad is eager to support. But the child has turned his back on both. And so the parents, though willing and able to help, weep.
Back to the funeral. Jesus was right there in our midst weeping. Weeping WITH many while weeping FOR most. To those who have said yes to Jesus, He weeps WITH them. He comforts, encourages, and strengthens them with His grace. To those who have said no to Jesus, He is still close at hand eager and willing to step in and yet forbidden to do so, and so He weeps FOR them.
Friend today and in the days to come I encourage you to invite Jesus into your fears, your struggles, your anxieties, your sorrows. Invite Jesus into your life, your marriage, your family. Do you realize He is closer than you think? Oh the storms of life come. The question is when they arise, will Jesus be weeping WITH you or FOR you? Only you can answer that.
See you at the finish line!