What is Jesus Doing While You’re Hurting?

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It is one of those questions we think about a lot, but have a hard time coming to a solid answer. I don’t know what your hurt is today. Did someone that you loved deeply pass from this life? Has your health taken a turn for the worse? Is depression hanging over your head like a dark cloud that won’t go away? Maybe you are sinking financially or maybe you have everything you’ve ever wanted and it hasn’t fulfilled the longings of your heart. Is your marriage falling apart? Are your children headed down dark paths? Do you ever want to scream out …

JESUS, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

I think most of us have. It’s not that we want to be disrespectful but it looks like Jesus has forgotten about us and we are facing life’s biggest hurts on our own.

In John’s Gospel, chapter 11 is a story of two sisters who had a brother that became deathly ill. They weren’t just any sisters, they were the friends of the Miracle Working Messiah. Yes, the same one that raised up the dead son of the widow of Nain.  So they sent for their friend and were certain that he would come. He did come. But it was too late.  They met him with the stinging accusation …

If you had been here, my brother would not have died.

I’ve felt that way and maybe you have too. If Jesus only cared enough to show up on time, the what misery could have been prevented! As you probably recall, Jesus raised Lazarus up from the dead. A beautiful story of His power and identity. But what can we learn from this chapter about what Jesus is doing when we hurt? What is Jesus doing about your broken heart right now?

WAITING.  It is hard to accept but sometimes Jesus is waiting.  In John 11 it is not that he is busy, but he waits…intentionally. We would like Jesus to heal our hurts immediately. But so often He waits. His concept of time is so different from ours. His purposes are beyond us … and sometimes confusing to us. We may never know why Jesus waits.

And so we wait for Jesus, as we perceive that He delays his help.  You’re not alone, you know, in your season of waiting. Imagine Noah waiting after the rain stops. Sending out ravens and doves … waiting for some sign that the eight aboard the ark were not going to be there until they died. In his sort epistle Jude reminds us …

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,  keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt… ~Jude 20-22

And John tells us that the martyred saints also ask about the timing of God.

They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer… ~Revelation 6:10-11

Maybe Jesus is waiting to relieve you of your hurt. In the waiting we also see Jesus …

EMPATHIZING. Empathy is the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else’s feelings (LINK). When Jesus does arrive to see the sisters who are grieving the loss of their brother, he patiently hears their pain. They rightly complain that his delay cost Lazarus his life. They are hurt. They wonder why he would allow something like that to happen to them – they are his close friends. If anyone deserved to be spared this pain, they did. And Jesus listens, consoles, and feels their pain. First Martha confronts Jesus, but Mary stays behind. Jesus asks to see her, and it is not until then that she comes to talk to him.

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. ~John 11:33

Twice in this passage John tells us that Jesus was deeply moved. Do not think that He is any less moved by your pain. He loves you just as much as he loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He knows the depth of your sorrow and He joins you in your tears. Those nearest to the tomb of Lazarus noted, “See how he loved him!” He loves you no less and when you hurt he is waiting and empathizing.

PRAYING. Jesus’ prayer at the tomb of Lazarus is a prayer of thanksgiving that God is listening. It is also a prayer of assurance … it is for those who are listening around Him. He prays that those hearing would believe in Him. Do you think that when Lazarus came out of that grave people were moved to believe everything Jesus said? I am!

Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. ~Romans 8:34

I wonder what we would think if we could hear Jesus praying on our behalf.

He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. ~Hebrews 7:25

This tells me that Jesus is not unaware of our hurts and struggles … but they are on his mind enough that he speaks of them to the Father. I don’t know how all that works, but I am grateful that he isn’t just off somewhere inattentive to what I’m going through today. What is Jesus doing while we hurt? He is waiting, empathizing, and praying.

TRUSTING. Yes, Jesus is trusting. We haven’t talked about the trajectory of Jesus’ life at this point. By being such a bold resurrectionist, He has now performed the miracle everyone will talk about. Some of the Jews who were at that tomb placed their faith in Him. (Who was standing there watching a man dead for four days walk out of a tomb and still could not find it in their heart to believe Jesus? Wow!) This was reported to the Pharisees and according to verse 53 plans were hatched to kill this ultimate Grave Robber.  In this act ….

Jesus trusted His Father with his life. He will soon pray that if there is another way, to please remove this cup of suffering from his life. There wasn’t another way. Still, Jesus prayed, ‘Your will be done.’

And in your pain, questions, doubts, uncertainties, as you continue to trust you join Jesus on the path of unyielding devotion to God.

And we do this because Jesus … Waited, Empathized, Prayed, and Trusted. Yes, Jesus wept (John 11:35). In those tears are all the truths we need to know when we are hurting. He hurts with us. His divine love moves him to care for us in our deepest troubles.

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die … Do you believe this?” ~John 11:25-26

I’m not asking you to dismiss your tears or ignore your pain. I’m asking you to consider how Jesus is healing your heart over time. I am fully convinced that when you weep, He weeps. And then He works to redeem your tears and bring forth hope.

Thanks for reading

John

 

2 thoughts on “What is Jesus Doing While You’re Hurting?”

  1. I do ask this question….a lot! My husband died in excruciating pain of cancer in 2011. A faithful believer he accepted his approaching death but our prayers for comfort and pain relief were not answered. I would take more comfort from the Lazarus story if Lazarus had remained dead and Jesus has helped the sisters to accept this, to understand their loss, to take what they had experienced forward into their lives alongside their loss.

    1. Ruth, thanks for that honest thought. I join you in not knowing why. We thank God for hope and we respectfully present to Him our cries of pain. Bless you.

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