“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” – John 14:18
There is probably no time in our lives that we will be more likely to question God, His love, His compassion, and His plan then during the loss of a loved one. Yet there is likely no other time that one will so clearly experience the sweet compassion of the Lord personally reaching out to comfort and encourage us through it, even during the questioning.
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4
It is in these times of deep sorrow and need that Jesus, who was always moved by compassion, presses to draw nearer to us then ever before. If we allow Him, He will fill the void with an unsearchable love, an unmatchable communion, and an unstoppable hope for the future. Many grow bitter or remorseful and pull away from God during their season of sorrow but for those who draw closer, Jesus will be revealed to them in a far more personal way then they ever thought possible. When the grief comes, run to Jesus, fall into His arms, and let Him bring you comfort, peace, understanding, joy, and a new promise. This loving personal comfort that can only come from the Comforter Himself is a unique blessing that all have access too, but few utilize, and that is a shame. Jesus is reaching out during these times more intently then any other, let us choose to recognize it, get alone with Him and let Him comfort us.
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24
“To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” – Isaiah 61:2-3
Why does Jesus have special compassion on those who are mourning? We know by scripture that as a man, Jesus experienced everything that we do. This was for a purpose, we can not have faith in the love of someone who does not understand by experience, what we are going through. However, Jesus’s experiences give us confidence that we can run to Him with our troubles and trust in His understanding love and compassion towards us, knowing that He has been there before Himself.
So how can Jesus understand what you are going through when you loose a loved one? We know that Jesus wept at the loss of His friend Lazarus. However Jesus knew that God was going to raise Lazarus from the dead even before he died. A closer examination of the passages in this story reveals that Jesus was not actually weeping over the death of Lazarus, whom He was about to raise, but rather He was weeping over the suffering of Marry, Martha, and the other mourners. He wept with compassion over them and their pain and you can rest assured that He weeps with you over yours as well.
“When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept.” – John 11:33-35
The reason Jesus was so broken for His broken-hearted friends was because Jesus knew exactly what they were going through having already experienced the heart wrenching loss of a loved one. You see, the last time the scriptures mention Joseph (Jesus’s earthly dad) was when Jesus was 12 years old preaching in the temple. Not once was he mentioned during Jesus’s public ministry, neither was he present with Jesus and Mary at the family wedding in which Jesus’s first miracle took place. The reason why isn’t made clear until Jesus is hanging on the cross and asked John to take Mary into his home and care for her as his own mother.
“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” – John 19:25-27
This would only be necessary if Mary’s husband Joseph was dead. Therefor we come to realize that somewhere between the age of 12 and 30 when His ministry began, Jesus had suffered the loss of His mentor, protector, care-giver, dad, and friend. Jesus being the oldest of His siblings would have not only born the weight of grief but also the burden of caring and providing for His family in Joseph’s place. In this Jesus experienced all that we do as broken, burdened, mundane mortals. The pain of loss and the burden of perseverance.
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15-16
Jesus suffered greatly through out His entire life. Much of this personal suffering is not recorded yet what is, is enough to remind us that He truly loves us and understands our deepest pain. He could have stopped it all at anytime, but He chose to endure it all that He might get to know you better by getting to know your pain and struggles better. There is truly no pain that He does not understand and the pain of loss stirs His heart most of all. This is why the only time the scriptures record Jesus crying was when He was reminded of the pain that is felt when we loose someone close to us. When Jesus saw Mary and Martha crying over the loss of their brother, it brought Him back to that place when a young Jesus wept over the loss of his earthly dad and He cried, being moved with compassion. He knows your grief, He knows your sorrow, and He knows that God has a plan to turn it all for your good. He knows because He’s been there, He knows because He lived it, and He knows how to get you through it. So run to Him, fall on Him, cry to Him, rely on Him, abide in Him, and watch Him turn everything around in the end; for He cares for you.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:3-5