I have never before felt compelled to write my thoughts publicly. As most people who know me can attest, I am a fairly private cat. Yet, while reading the blog of a close brother, I felt led to join the fray of random thoughts out there and pray the Lord might use it to His glory.
As my dear friend and brother is going through a tough time (you can read his blog here), I couldn’t help but be struck by how much it pained me. It is, of course, not the first time I have been moved like this, but it is the first time I ever really stopped to think about it. As we talked on the phone, he thanked me for just being there and caring. As I tried to respond, I had one of those rare, hard to speak, choked up moments. I tried to hide it, and may have been successful, but I still had that pain in my chest as I hurt for my friend.
It is times like this I am reminded of Jesus feeling the same thing. In the Gospel of John Chapter 11, Jesus’ friend Lazarus is sick and dying. Jesus delays in going to help him and Lazarus dies. As the Lord finally arrives, He finds Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha grieving. It is at this moment that we come across the shortest verse in the Bible. John 11:35 – “Jesus wept.” Jesus wept! This word doesn’t mean that he shed a tear or two, but He was doubled over in weeping. Was it the death of Lazarus that made Him weep? No, he could have stopped the death. If he wouldn’t stop it, Lazarus was already in a much better place and Jesus would be with him forever anyway. Also, Jesus already knew He was going to raise him from the dead. So why did Jesus weep? Jesus was weeping because he saw the grief in Mary and Martha. He loved Mary and Martha so much, that their hurt was His hurt. Is it not an amazing thing that the creator of the universe grieves for us just because we hurt?
So how is it that we get so close to someone that we are hurt by their hurt? I look at the guys I am the closest to in this world. What a strange mix we are; Guys from North Carolina, Mississippi, New York, Puerto Rico, England, Philly, and many other places. We are a mix of black, white, hispanic. We have varying ages and backgrounds. In any other situation, we wouldn’t have even given each other another thought. But we have that one thing in common, Jesus Christ! I have seen guys call each other “brother” before. They hang out with each other, they may even fight for each other. They may even kill for each other. Yet, they are only bound together by their own selfishness. It is a mutual need that binds them. As soon as one of them hurts the other, they are ripped apart and that so called brotherhood dissolves.
Yet, those of us bound together in Christ are different. In this case, we are not brothers because we decided to be. We are not brothers because we want something from each other. We are not brothers because we have the same skin color or the same circumstances. We are brothers because the Lord God on His throne in heaven declared it. Think about that. The same authority that said ‘Let there be light’ said ‘You are brothers!’ Our brotherhood is not held together by our own power or our own will, but by the will of God. That bond, united in the love of Jesus, is stronger than anything we could build ourselves. The truth is, in spite of our differences, we do have some things in common. We have all been wretched, selfish sinners. We have all been called out of the world by the Lord. We have all been forgiven and saved by Jesus.
What a powerful thing it is for the Lord to say “Let it be.”