The Bible instructs that our God is a personal and loving God. It claims He is never less than loving and personal. We are also taught that He is a sovereign God. He is in complete control of His creation.
And yet, if we walk this road of life long enough, we will question these truths. We will face trials, suffering, and death and it will leave us asking… pleading for understanding from this personal and sovereign God. Where are you Lord? Where were you when this happened? If you had the ability to stop this, why didn’t you? How can I trust you when nothing makes any sense? All these and more questions plague our composure when tragedy strikes.
To further the depths of pain for the one, who is grieving, in most cases the only answer to “why,” is silence. We usually aren’t privileged with a detailed plan of God’s purposes.
C. S. Lewis confirms this truth with these words after the loss of his wife and his near departure from his sanity. “Meanwhile, where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms. When you are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be – or so it feels—welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed into your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once. What can this mean? Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?” C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed.
In the eleventh chapter of John’s account of the Gospel, we learn something special of the man, Jesus, who walked this earth. We learn, just as the author of Hebrews stated (4:15); Jesus was really human, and He endured everything that we do. In verse thirty-five, we read, “Jesus wept.”
What leads to these two words is death. Jesus’ friend Lazarus has died. He is in his grave and is being mourned by family and friends.
For me, these are two of the most difficult words in our Bible to comprehend. Think about it. Jesus knew Lazarus was going to die before Lazarus knew that he would die. What’s more profound, though, is Jesus already knew He was going to bring Lazarus back from the dead. So why the words, “Jesus wept?”
Were His tears brought about by the knowledge of the sin of humanity, that ultimately is the cause of all death? Did He cry because of the unbelief in His midst? Maybe it was because Jesus knew what Lazarus would have to leave to come back to this earth.
Personally, I believe Jesus wept because of the pain and grief that surrounded Him. I believe His love was (and is) so great that He wept with those who were suffering. I think this passage displays the passion of our Lord and Savior for His people. It displays a passion that would take Him all the way to the cross of Calvary.
We still have pain. We still suffer, sometimes immensely. We cry out to God in despair. But we have hope (1 Peter 1:3). And we have peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Why? It is because we have Jesus, who wept and died for us.
What Lewis and others have learned, through the course of tragedy, is that God has provided for us the sufficient means to find peace and comfort, to find trust, to find Him in the midst of suffering and grief.
As his wife passed from this life, C. S. Lewis recalled her final words and actions. She said, “I am at peace with God.” Then Lewis remembered, “She smiled, but not at me.”
Poi si torno all’ eterna fontana
(Then unto the eternal fountain she turned. )