Before you start reading this post I would encourage you to watch the video above and then when you are done watch the video at the bottom of the post. It is not often that I include media into my posts. But I believe both of these songs have dictated what I am about to write about.
I want to talk about abandonment, fear, brokenness, grace and Jesus. Just so you are prepared for what I am about to get into here.
I was reading John chapter 11 this morning. Perhaps you know the chapter. It is the very famous passage where the author writes the words “Jesus wept.” Let me paint the picture. It has come to Jesus’ attention that his friend Lazarus has fallen very ill and may be nearing death. Jesus is unmoved by this and declares that this situation will not end in death.
Fast forward a couple of days and Jesus arrives to Lazarus’ home where his two sisters are mourning (Martha and Mary) Martha runs out to him. Mary does not.
This is what I want to look at, I have heard many sermons on this passage, but nothing like I experienced this morning.
Has someone ever hurt you before? Someone that you trusted and believed in? And after that hurt you found it incredibly difficult to face them? Maybe not because you are angry, but deep down you are terrified that they no longer love you? That they have abandoned you? That your trust was misplaced from the very beginning? You are terrified to face them because you are terrified that everything come out as false.
That is what abandonment does.
What does Jesus do? He calls Mary’s name.
Mary in turn runs out to him and falls at his feet weeping. The first words that come out of her mouth are drenched in salty wet confusion and brokenness. “Lord, if you had been here my brother would still be alive!” (Why didn’t you come, why weren’t you here, I thought you loved me, why did you forget about us, why God, why GOD, WHY GOD?)
Just then, Jesus is deeply moved in spirit as the author tells us. A verse later we get the “Jesus wept.” line.
Of course he wept. Yes he was saddened by his friend’s death, yes it showed us human emotion. But this ENTIRE scene in scripture paints a more beautiful picture of our human relationships with God than I could ever put in ink. It keeps just BLOWING my mind.
Jesus is heart broken, God is heart broken, that his children think he has abandoned them. He knew before Lazarus died that He would be glorified, but that doesn’t change how unbelievably messy and broken the situation, neither does it change how he takes complete brokenness swirling into chaos and spin it all on its head. He mixes the colors of tears and fear and paints a brand new picture.
He brings Lazarus back to life. There has never been a sunrise so awe-inspiring.
That is what it means that God takes brokenness aside and makes it beautiful. I am getting chills as I write this.
Jesus did not need to prove to any one there that he had not abandoned them. He is God, why should he have to remind us that we are loved and fully known? He did not need to call out to Mary in her desperation and pain.
What does he do instead? He first calls to Mary, he has not forgotten her. Then he listens to her, he hears her pain. Then he asks his Father to bring Lazarus out from death.
He stomps down so hard on the lies of abandonment and of a God that does not love us completely and fully. The lie about of a God who does not care. The lie about a God who does not forgive. Jesus stamps them out and changes every human life in the process.
Maybe I am insane, but I cannot express fully the beauty I am seeing in this chapter. I have never seen it like this before. Jesus wept. For us.
Like a parent who is truly devastated that a child has been hiding in shame and fear because they are afraid that his or her parents will never look at them with love again.
Like Adam and Eve hiding from a God so powerful, how could He ever love a mess so corrupted?
Yet still. He takes brokenness aside and makes it beautiful. Yet He is the God of second and third and infinite chances. Grace has no bounds. That is reality.
So I ask that if you struggle with any of these lies, look to Jesus, look to the cross, look at how God’s heart breaks to know we are afraid of him, that we are terrified that He will not take us back.
Jesus, that is what Unconditional Love is. Turn to Him and watch the master piece He paints on your heart.
He is calling out to you, He is waiting for you to run out to him, to fall at his feet and plead with him. He is waiting for you to be exactly who He made you to be. He is waiting for you to bring your ball of mess out to Him so he can make it beautiful.