The day wasn’t even over, but already I had attended a friend’s funeral, attended to my very sick daughter, and was heading to visit a student of mine in jail…
Days like this make me weep because of the brokenness that is the world around me. I don’t weep because I am scared of what will happen in my life, but simply because when things don’t turn out the way that God intended, it really hurts.
I am reminded of one particular circumstance in Jesus‘ life when his close friend died (cf. John 11). And instead of telling everybody that it was going to be okay, that he knew that Lazarus would be raised back to life, or even that they were not trusting God enough in their pain, he simply wept. He grieved all of the effects of humanity’s fallen state. He experienced the humiliation and pain of this life with us.
And that gives me hope! First, because Jesus knows exactly what I’m feeling. And I don’t have to go through this alone. Jesus feels this brokenness with me. Second, because brokenness, pain, and death are never the end of the story with Jesus. Even though the death of his friend was a tragic experience, my Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
Death is simply a doorway to resurrection.
Pain is simply a pathway to healing.
Grief is the gateway to comfort.
And for this, I choose to life my praises to heaven. Even though the grieving hasn’t ended, I will reach out to the storehouses of heaven for abundant grace and comfort and healing.
I love how Melissa and Jonathan David Helser so beautifully described this attitude in their song, Raise A Hallelujah:
“I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies
I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief
I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody
I raise a hallelujah, heaven comes to fight for me
I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive!”
Jesus wept. And when he did he gave legitimacy to the pain we experience in the brokenness of this world. And, for all those who are walking through grief, pain, and the valley of the shadow of death, he opened the doorway to resurrection, healing, and comfort.
And because I see the comfort in the middle of this grief, I can raise my hallelujah!