A dear year young thirteen years old girl passed away this past Saturday. Her Mom and Dad had to make the decision to switch off life support. I cannot imagine how hurtful that experience had to be.
However, there is some good news for her family and others of us still a mess reacting to the death of a loved one or a traumatic experience. Psalm 34:18 gives us great encouragement, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Our wonderful Lord and Redeemer is with us in our darkest most painful moments. How do we access Him to receive this wonderful news? Just prior to verse 18 above, in verse 17 God tells us how, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” God says to “cry out” and He “hears…and delivers.” He not only hears the cries of the brokenhearted, He heals them, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). Wounds of the loss of a dearly beloved person or a dear loved one still in our midst suffering trauma runs deep in our soul, but the Bible says that our God will walk with us every step of the way.
Weeping is a part of the healing process. God teaches us in His church not to have to weep alone. Romans 12:15, “weep with those who weep.” Don’t let a person weep by themselves, weep with them. The original Greek word means to “wail aloud” or “sob”. This is a deep soul cleansing cry. By the way, the Bible says that there are some of us who are gifted uniquely to support the hurting with the gifts of “mercy” and “helps”.
Check out how Jesus handled the loss of a dear one with whom He had a special relationship with his family and him. Their names were Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Lazarus passed away and had been dead for four days when Jesus came to Bethany. The Bible says in John 11:5, “Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus.” Martha had greeted Jesus as He entered their village and immediately went to get Mary. Verses 33-37 recount the following scene, “When Jesus saw Mary crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, he was deeply moved in his spirit and troubled. ‘Where have you put him?’ he asked. ‘Lord,’ they told him, ‘come and see.’ Jesus wept (the Greek word here means that He shed tears). So, the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’” Shortly afterwards, Jesus full of faith and obedience to His Father brought Lazarus out of the grave. Jesus didn’t cry because of a lack of faith but because of compassion.
The Christian faith is not a sterile, unemotional faith. The contrary is true. When Jesus Himself battled with His own flesh in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46) to be obedient to the cross and to the all-out hell that He would face in the preliminaries before He got to the cross, His emotions were “distress” and “intensely sad”. Like us, Jesus came to earth fully human step by step walking in obedience to His Father. He like us was not a robot.
1 Peter 5:7 exhorts us to “cast all our cares (or anxieties) on Him because He cares for you.” To others, He instructs us to “put on compassion, kindness and gentleness” (Col. 3:12) as we serve the downhearted.