From Paul’s Pen

            Our special GriefShare support group for members begins today at 5:00 P.M. in Adult One. If you failed to sign up, you are still welcome. You will be with people who love you because you’ll be with your church family. Like we tell all our initial GriefShare attendees, give us three weeks before you decide it’s not for you. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, come and give it a try this afternoon. I believe you’ll be glad you did!

            Grief is painful. Grief is jagged and has no smooth edges. It is abrupt and leaps on us when we least expect it. Grief sometimes seems eternal. All of these statements are so true, but this is also true: Grief is the expression of love we have for someone who has passed away. This is encouraging because it is positive compared to the previous statements we made about grief.

            One of the first scriptures many of us memorized after John 3:16 was the shortest verse in the Bible – John 11:35 – “Jesus wept.” It’s an interesting verse because Jewish witnesses to His tears mistakenly interpreted them as our Lord’s grief over the death of Lazarus. However, Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the dead. Why would He grieve a loss that was soon to become non-existent?

While there are several reasons why Jesus may have wept, the one that seems most logical to me is weeping out of empathy. When we see loved ones grieving with tears, we should be moved with compassion and “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15b). But the dual mention of Jesus groaning on either side of verse 35 may indicate our Savior’s aching heart for those who refused – and would continue to refuse after this great miracle – to believe Who He Was – the resurrection and the life (John 11:25)!