I recently lost a friend and colleague, and it seems that many others have lost friends and loved ones this year. It hurts to see a person you care about pass away; your heart may ache and you may wonder why they had to go. Sometimes the grief is overwhelming, possibly even turning to anger: anger at yourself, anger at the departed, anger at the world, or even anger at God. In those moments, one may begin to feel ashamed for their grief or pain. Others may try to bottle it up and move on with life. However, the story of Jesus Christ’s friend, named Lazarus, offers help in these times. This story can be found in the Bible, in the book of John chapter 11. Here we learn that it is good to grieve and that there is hope available to us. Jesus arrived on the scene after Lazarus was dead, but he knew something no one else did: he was going to bring Lazarus back to life! Yet here he was, surrounded by people mourning and wailing and telling him that everything would have been different if he had just arrived sooner—then he could have healed Lazarus before he died. As Jesus sees the pain that sin—humanity’s rebellion against Creator God—and death has caused, even he begins to weep. In all this, do you know what is missing? There is not even a hint of Jesus condemning these people’s grief. Jesus does not condemn grieving; it is good and healthy to take time to mourn your loss.
Still, we need not feel hopeless in our grief. Jesus told Lazarus’ sister, Martha, that he is the resurrection and the life. In other words, he came to win the defeat death by dying in your place. All people have sinned and their relationship with the Most High God has been broken. That broken relationship has killed every person’s soul—there is no more life there—and it opened the door to physical death. The problem? There is nothing any human can do to fix that relationship. But Jesus did. He was both fully God and fully human, and when he died on the cross and three days later rose again, he offered all people eternal life.
[tweetthis remove_hidden_hashtags="true"]Jesus doesn't condemn grieving; it's good & healthy to take time to mourn loss.[/tweetthis]
Now all you have to do is believe in your heart in the name and work of Jesus and make him master of your life. Then, God’s Holy Spirit will come to dwell within you and will bring life to your soul--life now and life for eternity—and one day, Jesus will return and your living soul will receive a new and perfect body that will never deteriorate or pass away. Truly, there is great hope in Jesus, the resurrection and the life!
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This article first appeared in the Pincher Creek Echo.