Looking Ahead

I, like many of you, am sitting here at the end of April sensing loss. There is a part of me that wants to stay positive for everyone else. But there is another part of me which deeply longs for this time to be over. One of the things I have learned to appreciate about scripture, and about the teachings of Jesus is that it is perfectly OK to be not OK. And, frankly, this is one of those days where I am not OK.

There is no rhyme or reason. Nothing changed overnight. Today, for whatever reason, I am struggling.

I do not say that to garner your sympathy. I am telling you how I feel today because I know some of you have probably felt the same way at some time in the last month. I share because we are all dealing with rapid changes and amplified uncertainty. And, over time, that takes a toll on a person. Just because you or I have a “down day” does not mean we are weak. It just means our system, our body, our soul, needs some time to grieve all the things we had planned.

I am reminded of the story of Lazarus. Lazarus was a dear friend of Jesus and the brother of Mary and Martha. While Jesus was off ministering to others, Lazarus became extremely sick. Jesus heard the news and stayed for two more days before heading back to Judea. The disciples were concerned about returning at all because the last time they were in Judea Jesus was nearly stoned to death.

When Jesus arrives in Judea, Lazarus has died. Actually, he has been in the tomb four days. After an exchange with Lazarus’ sister, Martha, Jesus expresses the fullness of his human emotion. As John 14:35 says, “Jesus wept.”

Immediately Jesus goes to the tomb and raises Lazarus from the dead. So why did Jesus weep? If he was going to resurrect Lazarus, if he knew the story had a positive ending, why did Jesus weep?

For the same reason you and I have down days. Sometimes every human, even Jesus, gets overwhelmed. It doesn’t mean we are not confident and faithful. It means we are human. It means we care deeply about our friends, our family, and our future. Jesus cared deeply about Lazarus, and when the reality of his death set in, Jesus wept.

Even so, in the midst of today, I am confident in God’s love for us all. Even though I am struggling to be motivated, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is walking with us in this uncertain and shadowy  valley. Furthermore, I am confident that as we weep, Christ holds us close and whispers in our ear, “I get it. I am here with you.”

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