Do you know those people who always know the right thing to say at a funeral? Well friends, that isn’t me. I mean that I want to say those words to make folks feel better, yet when it comes to speaking to the relatives, I always bungle it. It seems like I only open my mouth to change feet.
It isn’t that I don’t know what I’m talking about. My shelves are packed with books about Theodicy( the study of pain and suffering on earth as it relates to God). Still, knowing the how’s and why’s, the philosophical and theological, isn’t really what anyone wants to hear. The family and friends ask why and many other questions, but I’ve learned that they really don’t want to know why. Listening to me answer their questions doesn’t help one bit. When folks are in pain, they just want and need to grieve. Its vital that all the family members grieve at some point. Maybe not at the time of death or at the funeral, or even in public, but it has to happen. If someone doesn’t take the time to let it go, they’re going to be carrying a burden until they do. People were never designed to carry that burden, so let it out. At some point, purge your system, its healthy and manly.
I’ve learned that the best Scripture to quote is the shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35. Jesus wept.
John 11: 1-44 tells the story about Lazarus. Here’s the Readers Digest version: Lazarus was sick, Martha called for Jesus to heal him, Jesus delayed in arriving, Lazarus died, Jesus showed up and Martha was PO’ed, everyone was grieving, Jesus wept, Jesus went to the tomb and raised Lazarus from the dead.
Now don’t miss this, Jesus knew perfectly well that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, yet He still wept. Why? He wasn’t weeping for Lazarus. Here’s the key friends, when we weep, He weeps. Jesus’ compassion for us goes so deep that Martha and Mary’s grief, caused Him to weep. They didn’t grieve alone, we don’t grieve alone. When you are at that casket, and the weight of the world is on you and your heart is totally broken, the King of kings is next to you and He doesn’t go away. Your grief is His grief. Your tears aren’t alone.
Jesus had a greater plan for Lazarus. In his dying, Jesus was able to show how deeply He cares for us. Martha didn’t understand everything that was going on or that anyone would be reading her story 2000 yrs later. I don’t understand everything that’s going on today. What I do know is that He doesn’t leave you and you aren’t grieving alone. His arm is around you and His tears are as real as yours. You just have to trust Him through the pain. That’s perhaps the best definition of faith isn’t it? Hope is only available through Jesus and its free. Get to know Him friends