Pain, loss, grief and confusion permeates the small Judean village of Bethany just down the road from Jerusalem. The house of Mary and Martha overflows with family and friends mourning the death of Lazarus, brother of the two sisters and friend loved by Jesus. Voices are hushed. The routines of life have stopped. Those assembled await the arrival of Jesus. Certainly, the man “who opened the eyes of the blind man” (John 11.37) would do something here as well. It was this hope and plea, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” that came from the heart of both sisters (John 11.21 and 32).
Brokenness. Grief. Despair. We experience the same deep sadness today. Things aren’t broken completely but everything is broken. It’s a brokenness experienced even by Jesus’ close friends and those he loves. Mary and Martha didn’t escape it and neither can we.
This story lays waste to the thought, “If Jesus loves me, there will be no pain.” The brokenness we see—and the pain, loss, grief and confusion we experience—is not the measuring rod of God’s loves for us.
Although the possibility is real, we cannot allow pain to be an impediment to belief. We must invite God into the pain and allow him to draw us closer to himself. As you welcome God into a week marked by suffering, today write a prayer of lament that does exactly this. As you name your pain, write, “Dear Father, this is bad and I’m hurting. I need you to step into this situation now. But no matter what you decide to do, I know you love me very much. Help me to trust you even more.”