And now, here’s my 2nd monthly study on attitude, as part of my 2013 focus on precisely that.
These two simple words from John 11:35 form the shortest verse in most English versions of the bible.
The power in this verse is in its simplicity, I think, and in its humanity. Jesus is not above sadness and sorrow, nor does he lack feeling. It also reassures me it’s alright to cry because Christ even did so in His blameless life.
The background story of Jesus’ sorrow is definitely one of true loss. Lazarus, a follower and friend of Jesus, is very ill. His sisters Mary and Martha send word to Jesus to come and quickly, but his disciples question the wisdom of this plan to go back to Judea.
They remind Him last time He was there the Jews tried to stone Him to death, but Jesus is adamant about making the journey.
When they arrive everyone is in grief because Lazarus died 4 days earlier. The sorrowful Mary finds Jesus right away, and Jesus asks her where they have laid the body. Through her tears she tells Him to “come and see.” This is when the gospel tells us “Jesus wept.”
After this comes a major miracle as Jesus arrives at the tomb and commands Lazarus to “get up.”
I can’t imagine the skepticism of the crowd at these words. The gospel tells us there is already a bad odor from the body starting to decay. The stench of death is literally in the air; four days have passed.
But Lazarus does get up. He emerges from the tomb, a living example of the power of Christ!
One question this story often evokes is why Jesus didn’t raise many others from dead. Or more directly, why he doesn’t heal everyone.
Jesus, in His sorrow, raised His friend Lazarus.
So…why in our sorrow doesn’t He always heal our family, our loved ones, or us from disease, disability, or worse? Why, why, why?
It’s such an often asked question, even by strong believers.
And it’s easy to struggle with how to maintain a positive attitude when there is so much suffering and hardship in this world. Especially when we know God has the power to heal it all.
The answer is usually a mystery at first and sometimes becomes clear later. But somethings never become clear. Not in this life. Whenever I find myself asking why too much, I just go back to the Lord’s Prayer.
“Thy will be done.”
The other big ticket items I felt and want to share are as follows:
1) Christ doesn’t ask us to be fake. Jesus wept in His sadness, and we can too.
2) Christ does tell us to give thanks, to rejoice, and to love God first and love others as ourselves.
3) We can still be thankful, joyful, and loving through sorrow – even when it hurts so bad we can hardly breathe – as long as we remember Christ is the great comforter. If you go to Him with blame you may not find your answers, but if you go to Him for unconditional love you will always find what you seek.
And linking up with Only a Breath for February.