This morning Renee and I prayed with a couple that are within 4 days of being evicted from their home with their 3 children. The husband’s business is failing, and he has cancer. He looked at me and said, “I’ve been praying and praying, and things just keep getting worse. I’m t i r e d.”
His comments took me back to the days and weeks leading up to the death of our son Ian. The days before he died I was praying fiercely for his life. Then he died. So this morning I wept with this father and I groped for words to say. Words were hard to find. Tears were not hard to find. And tears are more eloquent than words.
Later I remembered how God comforted me recently through showing me in John 11 how Jesus demonstrated His special love for Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Everyone recognized that Jesus had a special love for this family. So they were surprised that when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He delayed two long days before coming. While He delayed, Mary and Martha buried their brother and grieved. I’m sure they wondered why their dear Friend did not show up for the funeral. That must have hurt.
Sometimes God shows His love in the strangest ways.
Jesus could have prevented Lazarus’ death. He could have at least showed up for the funeral. He could have alleviated their pain sooner with an earlier resurrection. But He delayed while they wept.
He delayed while they wept.
What kind of love is that? When we’re waiting for God to show up, we tend to assume that He’s aloof or uncaring. But when Jesus finally did show up, He wept with Mary and Martha so intensely that everyone finally saw how much He loved them.
Mary got it. Her love for Jesus was not extinguished by how He delayed and prolonged her pain. In fact, she soon lavished her love on Him with costly perfume as she wiped His feet with her hair.
This morning I had trouble explaining how Jesus’ tough love for us has deepened our love for Him. It’s hard to explain, because it still hurts. But it helps to know that Jesus wept.