Our Sorrow is Never Wasted
Written by: Janise Anderson
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Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, "See how He loved him!"
- John 11:35-36 (NKJV)
When Lazarus died, his sister Mary was broken.
Mary didn’t know how the story would end. She didn’t know that Jesus would bring her brother back from the dead. She didn’t know she’d ever get to hug Lazarus again or laugh with him again.
When Jesus came, He felt her pain. He grieved with her and wept openly alongside her. He knew that her sorrow would soon change into complete happiness. But for now, He was with her in that pain and in that sadness.
He allowed the sorrow - sorrow He could have prevented.
Why did He do this? Why would Jesus allow His friend Lazarus to die? In John 11:4, Jesus tells His disciples that “this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (NKJV).
The crowds had already seen Jesus heal the sick and the blind, and they had witnessed many of His miracles. But most of them still saw Him as a great prophet or master--but not as the Son of God.
But after Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, verse 45 tells us that “many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him” (NKJV). Through the death and resurrection of Lazarus, many believed in Christ.
Sorrow is not wasted. The moments when I’ve felt God most near are the moments when my heart has been burdened with sorrow. When I’ve cried alone, I’ve felt as if God’s arms were around me, holding me close.
Jesus allows hurt and sorrow in our lives. We may not always understand the why, and in our pain, we may lash out at Him. But our hurt is never meaningless. Jesus allowed the death of Lazarus that the Son of God may be glorified.
This incredible and beautiful story of Lazarus has been told throughout the world--and through this miracle, God has been glorified.
I shared this story last year in South Asia. The women listening had never heard it before, and they too did not know how the story ended. When Lazarus was dead, Mary was broken, and Jesus was crying, I felt with them the deep sadness of the story.
But the beautiful thing was that the story was not over yet.
I told them the wonderful twist to the ending: Jesus’ miracle and Lazarus’ restoration to life. And the women listening grinned and clapped, glorifying our Savior who overcame death and allowed His friend Lazarus a second chance at life.
That’s exactly what Jesus has done for each of us. Through His death on the cross, He overcame death. Through His resurrection from the grave, He bought for us a second chance at life.
I don’t know what hurt and pain you’ve encountered throughout life, or what you’ve gone through during just this year. But I believe in a Savior who redeems our pain and who gives meaning to our life.
If you’ve not yet trusted Him, reach out to Him now. He is waiting to love and lead you, to heal you and save you. He’s ready to give you a wonderful twist to your story: a second chance at life.
1. What can we learn about Jesus through this story of Lazarus? What can we learn about ourselves?
2. Have you surrendered your hurt and pain to Jesus? Have you found the healing and peace you’ve looked for?
Jesus, we love You. Thank You for always loving us. Thank You for drawing near to the brokenhearted and for holding us close through our pain. Thank You for the second chance at life that You offer us. I pray that You would give healing and peace to those seeking to know You, amen.
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