Jesus Enable Our Grief


Brittany Cowden

Key Scripture: John 11:1-44 (The VOICE)

Enable: To give someone the authority or means to do something; make possible.

Synonyms: authorize, allow, permit.

In John 11, Jesus’ friend Lazarus dies. We see that Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick, but Jesus chose to stay where He was instead of going to heal him. We are told that in spite of that choice, Jesus dearly loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus. 

Upon Lazarus’ death, Jesus travels back to Bethany and goes to his tomb. He meets Martha there and calls for Mary to come too. When Mary sees Jesus, she falls at His feet and cries, “‘Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would still be alive’. When Jesus saw Mary’s profound grief and the mourning and weeping of her companions, He was deeply moved by their pain in His spirit and was intensely troubled” (John 11:32-33).  

Jesus then asks where Lazarus’ body is and as they led Him there, He wept. 

The Jews assumed that Jesus wept for Lazarus. But they didn’t know that Jesus had the power to raise Lazarus from the dead. I wonder why Jesus would cry for Lazarus when He knew his death was only temporary?

I think that Jesus wept because of the pain being experienced by the people He loved. When Mary fell at His feet, He was moved by her raw emotion and as they walked, He allowed himself to feel it with her. He cried for the pain of His friends. 

In spite of the fact that Jesus knew the good that was going to come from Lazarus’ death and that He knew what He was about to do would end their pain, He still felt it. He felt the pain and the grief. He wept for what was necessary to bring glory to Himself and to God. 

I believe that He is good in all things and through all things He brings good. 

We serve a God who is just, kind and loving. He not only sees our pain, but He also feels it with us. Even though Jesus knew the greater purpose and eventual outcome, He could still walk in the midst of the pain and experience it. He did not tell Mary, Martha and the crowd that they didn’t need to mourn, He mourned with them. When Mary fell to her knees at His feet in her pain, she was sharing her pain with Him. His heart broke with hers and He wept. 

Jesus enables and permits us to be okay with feeling our pain. 

How many times has His heart broken over me?

How many times have I cried out in lament to Him, and He experienced my pain along with me? 

Sisters, in the midst of our pain we are not alone. Though we cannot see the light on the other side of our darkness, Jesus walks alongside us and enables us to experience our grief in the full knowledge that healing will come and our Lazarus will rise again.

Steps of Faith: 

Lord, you are a good, good father. Thank you for feeling my pain with me and giving me permission to not be okay. I rest in the knowledge that Your plans are not my plans and I trust that you can make good things come out of my pain. Life is so hard, and I do not truly understand why it has to be that way, but I am so incredibly grateful that you choose to experience it with me and bring me comfort in the midst of pain. Thank you, Lord, for loving me so much that you won’t ever let me mourn alone. Amen.

Deeper Walk Scripture: 

Lamentations 3:22 “How enduring is God’s loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion.”

Psalm 78:39 “He was mindful that they were human, frail and fleeting, like a wind that touches one’s skin for a moment, then vanishes.”

John 3:16 “For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only son so that whoever believes in him will not face everlasting destruction but will have everlasting life.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. For even as His suffering continues to flood over us, through the Anointed we experience the wealth of His comfort just the same.”

Psalm 86:15 “But Lord, You are a God full of compassion, generous in grace, slow to anger, and boundless in loyal love and truth.”

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