That verse, John 11:35, is the shortest verse in the English Bible (in the original Greek, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 is shorter). Two words. Three syllables. But that verse conveys a world of meaning.
Jesus was watching Mary and Martha, dear friends of his, weep for their brother. He knew that Lazarus would live again, that the moment of his resurrection was only moments away. But Jesus wept. Not for his own sadness. Not from any sense of despair. He wept at the grief of people he loved.
Mary and Martha knew that Jesus could have kept their brother from dying. They also knew that he hadn't done so. They wanted to believe in him, yet he seemed to have failed them in their moment of need. Did his tears mean that their faith was misplaced, that he was actually powerless in the face of death?
Moments before, Jesus had shared a secret with Martha when he said, "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25) He had also promised her that Lazarus would live again. Still, he wept upon seeing Martha and Mary's tears.
We face that same internal conflict. Sometimes it feels like God is far away when we are hurting. It can even feel like he doesn't care. He could prevent all death and suffering, yet here we are, drowning in a sea of grief.
Let me tell you that Jesus still weeps. He still hurts. He grieves with us. He knows that death is not the end, that resurrection and life will soon triumph. Yet he sees our pain and weeps with us.
God cares. I can't explain every aspect of pain and suffering, but I want to assure you that God cares. And we Christians, as the body of Christ, also care. Your hurt is our hurt. Your pain is our pain. Those of us who seek to live as Jesus lived are called to weep alongside those who are grieving.
God cares. Jesus weeps. And his church wants to stand by you in your time of need. No, Christians aren't perfect, and we will sometimes let you down. But we have been called to imitate the man who wept at the pain of his friends. If you aren't part of a community of believers, I'd love to try and help you find a church. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our blog on HopeForLife.org.