He took a deep breath, made sure his sandals were ready for the journey, and headed toward a small town called Bethany. There would be no party, turning water into wine, or laughter on this journey. He would walk a great distance to visit a group of people who were in mourning. During his journey he likely reflected on the good memories he had of his friend Lazarus who had passed away. And when He arrived He found exactly what He expected. His dear friends were in tears, and the ancient teachings tell us, “He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” And once He had a chance to speak to the loved ones of the deceased we learn, “Jesus wept.”
It was a stormy morning in Westport, WA as I sat watching the King Tide crash with a vengeance. There would be no jogging on this morning so I opened my Bible directly to the story of Lazarus. I’ve read it several times, but on this morning the words “Jesus wept” swept over my heart and soul like the Pacific Ocean. I pictured my Jesus surrounded by the people in grief. As we read, He was moved to tears, but because we know how the story ends…we also know He was not crying due to the death of his friend. No, Jesus knew what was about to happen…He would bring Lazarus forth from the grave. Jesus was in tears because He truly loved people. The cross was not the first time this God of man felt our pain. He saw the people in pain and sadness and it “moved” Him to tears, but don’t miss that last part of the verse where we learn it moved His “spirit.”
Jesus is who we look to to see the nature of God. Some like to say, Jesus was God in sandals. And what a beautiful picture of a God who looks down upon you in your darkest moments, and mourns when you mourn, has heartache when your heart aches, and is moved not only to tears, but to action.
Many of you reading this are grieving the loss of something or someone. As I grow older, I’m more convinced that one of the many secrets to having a good life is to learn how to grieve loss. The loss of a job, spouse, friends, love, income, our youthfulness, our hair, perky boobs, and I’m sure you can add to the list. And aren’t there moments where you feel very alone? The deeper the grief the more we tend to believe that no one on earth can truly know our pain.
I have been plagued with a feeling of loneliness for many years. Even when I was married, in amazing relationships, or had friends surrounding me…loneliness fell over me like a dense fog. Thankfully, a therapist has helped me work through this over the last couple of months. One of the things I’ve tried to focus on is connecting to the spirit that lives within me. It is the same spirit that “moved Jesus.” It is the same spirit that lives within you. And do you know a nickname that has been given to this spirit? It has been called the comforter. Anyone other than me need comforted?
The spirit of God lives within each of us. It is that spirit who moves us to compassion. It is that spirit who moves us and convicts us to forgive and love others. It is that spirit who can give you a peace that surpasses all understanding in times of grief. Jesus was connected to that spirit…that spirit He has clearly given to all of us. A spirit that we are told gives us “power from heaven” (Luke 24:49).
Sometimes I feel like the worlds biggest hypocrite when I write these blogs. Every single time I write it comes from a place of pain! Meaning, you are basically reading my personal journal. It is my way of digging deep into my pain, and reminding myself of where true peace and comfort is found. Please, please, please don’t miss the last sentence of the last paragraph. The power from heaven is found in the spirit that dwells within you. The power from heaven is found in the spirit that dwells within you. The power of heaven is found in the spirit that dwells within you!
God is not distant. God is not floating on a cloud drinking mimosas, and ignoring your pain. The spirit of God dwells within you, and when you and I tap into that we will know what it means to love others to the point we are moved to tears during their grief. And we will be able to harness that power during the moments we ourselves are experiencing grief.
You are not alone. You are never alone. You are filled with the spirit of God that wants to empower you to have a life that is full of hope and joy. And during the moments of grief that spirit will show up to give you peace. When we connect to Jesus…we are connected to a power directly from heaven!
I love you,
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