By Wesley Hicks
Jesus wept. (John 11:35)
The shortest verse in the Bible, yet to me I have found it to have some of the deepest meaning in my life.
Can I just say that grief and loss sucks? I guess I just did, but can we all agree that none of us wake up this morning hoping to experience grief?
The unavoidable fact, however, is that each one of us will at some point or another experience the loss of a loved one. Whether it be a close friend, grandparent, spouse, or child each time we experience loss the sting seemingly wounds our very souls. This is a basic human truth, but what we sometimes miss is how much God also hurts with us and for us.
Let me start with some of my most painful moments of grief so that what I am saying may become more clearly understood. In 2012 my wife and I were pregnant with our first child, Farrah Adin, and on December 26th of that year we discovered that we lost our daughter a little over half-way through the pregnancy. Needless to say, we were devastated. Even in writing this, I find old wounds resurfacing and my heart breaks at the loss of our daughter.
After having an amazing daughter a couple of years later, we became pregnant for a third time. This time, twins, but on December 31, 2015, during a routine doctor’s visit, my wife found out that one of our twins had passed away. That was a phone call that I will never forget. My heart had been ripped open yet again to re-live the pain from losing Farrah, and at the same time, the additional devastation of losing one of our sons. To say that I was troubled would be the understatement of a lifetime.
Loss…….well, loss hits us in some of the deepest and most devastating ways that is humanely possible. Why?
You see, it is in this question of why that oddly enough I began to feel the most peace that I can ever recall experiencing in my entire life to this point. It is the question, “why do these things happen,” that may be a blog for another day, but the question of “why does this hurt so badly.” It was with this question that God met me where I hurt, and John 11:35 spoke into me some of the most life changing truths that I think I have ever received with the only exceptions being the Word as it led me to salvation in Jesus.
The truth is, that it hurts so deeply and intensely because we were never designed to experience it in the first place. It was here that I saw Jesus so deeply troubled with the loss of a friend and the grief of Lazarus’ loved ones that I was reminded that our broken existence also breaks God’s heart.
Think about this, you and I were designed at creation to experience life everlasting in communion with each other and open communion with the God of all the universe. Because of sin, that design was transformed into a broken shell of what God created us to experience. The impacts of sin are more than just loss and grief, but it definitely has brought us to a place to specifically experience each of those severely. Now, since we can see that the original design was not for us to encounter death or loss, but to fully experience abundant life with God and with others. We were made for more and when we experience loss it triggers grief as a natural result and can be a reminder of our design to experience more. This is not lost on God.
You see all of this is something that deeply impacts God. That statement reminded me of how much He hates what has happened to cause us to experience this broken existence. He hates it so much that it grieves Him, and ultimately so much that He took on flesh so that He could take on death to redeem the brokenness and restore the original design for His children. You see God sees us in our grief and He shares in our pain. I think not only does He share it, but I honestly think it breaks His heart more than it ever hits us.
When we experience loss, God sees it as a loving Father. Imagine your child, broken and in heart wrenching pain. Can you feel your heart burdened by just that image? That is a dim reflection of the compassion God has for His children as we experience brokenness. He grieves with us and has paid unlimited cost to resolve what causes us to experience it with the currency of His own Son.
Loss hurts, but I have peace in it all. I have peace because my pain is not lost on God, and because He grieves with me and deeper than I can even begin to imagine. I have peace because in it all, He has already paid the price to make new what was broken. I have peace because the one that is in control of the life that experience pain is also the one that grieves the most because of it. I can trust a God that is there through it all, and has never once waivered in His deep love for me.
It’s odd; I have never hurt so much as I have in the last few years, and at the same time I can honestly say I have never trusted God more nor had more peace that I do today.
Jesus Wept. It’s funny how two words can change everything so much. My hope is that those two words and understanding why will help you to trust Him more than ever before. It does not always take the pain away, but you will never be alone in the middle of it.