Today we have reached 31 weeks! I cannot believe how fast the time is going. In some ways it feels like we just started this whole adventure. In other ways it feels like the time is going way too fast. I hate the feeling of time passing you by. But no matter how much you try and stop time, it just keeps moving right on forward.
Today has brought so many bittersweet feelings. I cannot help but feel so extremely blessed for the 31 weeks that I have had with my baby. It has not been all fun, nor has it been an easy ride. But it has been the best 31 weeks of my life. I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. The time that I have spent bonding with my little one has been so healing for me. It has been so real, pure, and true. I will cherish these memories forever.
But at the same time it has been a hard day. I realize how short life can be. I realize how we cannot take any moment for granted. Because in a moment the thing we hold most dear can be taken from us, and so we must live each moment to the fullest.
On my way home tonight I cried, once again asking God for peace. As my heart broke, I prayed for God to fill up my heart with His love. I asked God to hold my tears. Because I do not cry in vain. I know that God hears my sorrow, he feels my pain, he sees my tears. God knows.
As I was reading my devotions this weekend I happened to come across the story of Lazarus. It is such a powerful story. Not only does God show his mighty and miraculous power through his response to the situation. But he actually gives us a beautiful, yet heartbreaking, example of his humanity. Here is the story found in John 11:
The Death of Lazarus
11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
This story holds so much meaning. I could go on for pages describing all of the amazing truths that it holds about our Lord. But during my reading I focused on the verses that describe how Jesus reacted to the death of his friend. In verse 33, it says that when Jesus saw Mary weeping, and all of the other people with her weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. Jesus did not simply stand there and watch His friends cry. He did not just observe what was happening around him, and ignore the reality. Jesus was deeply moved. Jesus felt true, real, and pure feelings. He saw the sadness that Mary was feeling. He saw that her heart was broken over the loss of her brother. And then he felt emotions that every one of us feel at one time or another. Jesus knows what it is like to feel sadness. Jesus knows what it is like to feel pain and heart break. Jesus knows what it is like to watch someone suffer through loss. Jesus knows. Jesus knows because He experienced it first hand. Jesus knew that his friend Lazarus had died. Jesus watched Mary and Martha grieve. He has been through the valley of the shadow of death.
Then came the part that hit me the deepest. "Jesus Wept". He cried real tears. He expressed all of the emotions He was feeling through His tears. Jesus knows what it means to cry. Jesus knows what it means to feel such sorrow, such agony, such heartbreaking pain, that it just brings tears to your eyes. Jesus knows.
I believe with all of my heart that Jesus cries with us through our greatest pain. We are not left alone with a God who is completely separated from us. That is the beauty of the sacrifice. God sent his Son to earth to experience our life. He knows what it means to suffer and to be sad. He knows because he has gone through these things too. Jesus cried when he saw the great pain that Mary and Martha were experiencing. And I know that Jesus cries with us. He sees the hurt we are going through, and he cries along with us.
I know that God is crying along with me in my pain. I know that God is feeling my heart break. I know that God is holding my tears. I do not cry in vain.
What a beautiful comfort knowing that I have a God who does not expect me to just be okay. Because he knows that it is not okay. He was deeply troubled by what he saw at the grave of Lazarus, and I know that he is deeply troubled at the situation we are facing right now. Jesus knows. Jesus cries.
As I look back over the past 31 weeks I know that I have cried so many tears. Some of those tears have been tears of joy, tears of happiness, tears of love. But many of those tears have come from sorrow, pain, and heartbreak. It gives me such comfort to know that I do not cry alone. I do not cry in vain. My God is crying with me. He is holding my tears in his hands. He had never left my side. What a beautiful promise!