Monday, June 6, 2016

Escape to the Weeping Savior

The incident happened at the gym.  I was lifting for the first time in about a month, and as I went to bench press, the bench gave way.  Luckily, it didn't drop very far, and I wasn't lifting much weight (I was using dumbbells, not a bar), so there wasn't much consequence to it.  I quickly finished my lift (using a different bench) and went to run, when I noticed a very small cut on my finger.  And when I brushed it, I cringed in pain.  The dumbbell must have rubbed so hard on it when I fell, that it ripped the skin away.

So I went to wash it out, and of course, more pain.  My immediate thought was, "How can I get this to hurt the least."

We hate pain.  I hate the slight headaches (or migraines) that cause distraction and annoyance.  I hate the emotional pain attached to a rude comment.  And I hate the pain of loss, of trauma, and of sorrow.

And yet, so often life throws painfully sad moments our way.  The fire has been no exception of painful, sad moments.  And I often respond by wanting to escape the pain.  I drown my sorrows in escapism.  I plug into my music and slip into daydreaming, wanting to stop reliving the horrors in my mind.  I eat my sorrows away trying to avoid thinking about it again.  I long for people to love me, only to often see them not know how to care for me.

I hate pain.  I hate being sad.  I hate feeling hopeless and helpless.

That's when I try to apply a band-aid: be happy by remembering God's Word!  It's good to remember God's Word, and the Gospel.  But even in the midst of trying to look at something good, I do it only because I don't want to feel sad.  I don't want the pain.  I don't want to believe I'm living in a fallen world, one that offers brokenness and sorrow.  I don't want to believe that my house, MY House could be so insecure.  Just give me a psalm to make me feel better.

It's why John 11 is so helpful.

Jesus and his disciples were traveling to see Lazarus.  He had been dead for four days, and Jesus knew He was going to raise him back to life.  He was confident in His power and His authority.  He was going to have his friend back, and make his other friends, Martha and Mary, very happy to see their brother alive again.

That's what makes verses 33-35 so compelling:

"When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.  And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept."

 What?  Jesus knows that everything is going to be better, so why is He greatly troubled?  Why is His Spirit deeply moved?  Why does He weep?  

I think it's because while He knows that He will make all things new, the pain of brokenness, sin, and death is so severe.  In a world, and even a Christian Culture, that says get over your suffering, Jesus the Redeemer weeps and approves our weeping through His own.  When we are tempted to bristle at our pain, to escape it through sin, or put a band-aid on it with happy verses, Jesus says, "don't you dare... I want your tears, your sorrows, and your heartbreak.  I want to hear from you.  I am with you in it."

My friend Jason has constantly reminded me that it's okay to be sad over losing stuff.  It's okay to be sad about being displaced.  It's okay to not be completely on my feet and getting everything done and having things fall through the cracks.  It's okay to show emotion.  In fact, it's not just okay, it's expected.  Experiencing the effects of a broken world is hard and sad, Jesus' weeping confirms that.  So run to the weeping savior, who expects your tears, your heart, and your grief.