“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” – John 11:25-26
What are your feelings when you read these words of Jesus?
To be honest, they trouble me a little. Because I know that many Christians have used these words poorly. These are words that have been spoken with good intention, meant to be encouragement to those facing death and loss.
But what the person grieving can hear is, “there is life after death, so you should not be sad about death.”
That is not what Jesus meant at all.
We were meant to live in perfect peace with God in a perfect world.
The sickness, pain, loss, and death that we experience were never supposed to be a part of this world. These things should make us sad.
Jesus came because there was brokenness that needed to be set right. But that does not mean the brokenness should no longer make us grieve.
In fact, it made Jesus grieve.
Jesus said this “I am” statement when He was on His way to visit His friend Lazarus, who had died. (If you do not know the story, it is worth taking a look at John 11)
And even though Jesus knew Lazarus would enjoy the beauty of heaven, even though He knew that He had the power to raise Lazarus from the dead, even though Jesus knew the happy ending, He did not rejoice in this moment.
He saw the grief in the ones He loved and was moved in His Spirit. He acknowledged the brokenness and He wept.
It is important to remember here that Jesus was wholly and perfectly human and that He was wholly and perfectly God.
It is not a sin to mourn.
God is saddened by our pain. He feels our grief with us.
That is why Jesus came in the first place. God did not want the world to stay this way. Jesus came to make a new way. To set things right. To provide the resurrection and life promised in the verse that began this post.
Hope does not erase pain. It simply enables us to bear it.
When we experience loss in this world, we can look forward to the day when every tear will be wiped from our eyes. There will be a time when we will never experience loss again. And what a great day that will be.
But we can also wail and cry and mourn. In fact, we should. We need to feel and process our pain. And when we do, that does not imply our faith is weak. We can take comfort in a God who weeps with us.
It is possible to grieve and believe simultaneously.
That is what Jesus did. And He showed us a beautiful picture of authentic faith.
Read the post before this one, The deep longing in our hearts.