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December 16, 2014

Jesus Wept

A couple weeks ago, I experienced the most passionate teaching on the Bible story of raising Lazarus from the dead, courtesy of Dan Makokha. I've heard and read the story so many times, but scripture is fantastic because a passage can speak to you differently based on what is happening in your life. The passage you read a thousand times before takes on new meaning because your perspective on life is constantly shifting, and I love that.

 On this particular Sunday, the focus was on Lazarus actually coming out of the grave and making his way toward Jesus, who had just called his name. John 11:44 tells us that Lazarus was coming out of the grave with his hands, feet and face still bound in the burial linens. Jesus tells them to "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." Dan's focus was Lazarus' attempt to reach Jesus, but still being bound by the burial cloth.

You might be trying to follow Jesus, you might be walking toward His voice and trying to go the right direction, but what in your own life is binding you from approaching Jesus freely? We need to let go of our burdens in order to really follow after Him. We can't let the choices of our past, the sins, the current situation preventing us from going after God with all that we are. I loved hearing that message because that is truth I needed to hear. Many people in the church took the opportunity to come forward and pray for release, and it was truly a beautiful experience.

Here I am a couple weeks later though, and every day, I still can't get the thought out of my head that "Jesus wept." Really, didn't Jesus know that He was about to raise this man from the dead? Didn't He know that everything was about to change and all the sadness and grief that these people were experiencing because their friend died were about to be over? Still he wept...

Right now, this verse is breathing new life into me. Jesus knows our circumstance, and he understands our suffering. Even though hope is coming, even though it isn't the end, He made the choice to enter into our brokenness and our pain and share in that. God isn't some lofty idea and didn't just create us to leave us floating around hopeless to figure things out on our own. He is Emmanuel...God with us, and no matter how dark things feel, no matter how alone we think we are, He is still there. Not only does He desire us to follow, love and serve Him, but He chooses to follow, love and serve us. In your darkest hour, remember that Jesus wept. His heart breaks for us and longs for us and He has never and will never abandon you, because you are his beloved child.