No, You Are Not Alone When You Cry

Moved by our pain, God weeps with us and is present in our grief in complete humanity and divinity

People have been asking: Where is God in the midst of this pandemic? Why is He not stopping the spread of this deadly virus? Some are even questioning: Is God angry with us, humanity, and allowing this to punish us?

Well, I don’t have all the answers. Yes, worldwide people are being infected with COVID-19, and many have died and are dying even today. People are in a state of fear, panic, hopelessness, and they are angry.

I want to share a small verse from the gospel of Luke 11:35: Jesus wept. We see a weeping God during communal grief and tragedy—Jesus weeping at the death of his friend Lazarus. Jesus often stayed with this family and was close to the sisters Martha and Mary. Jesus was away when Lazarus died. Now standing outside the tomb and being present along with the entire community that is in sorrow and sadness, Jesus weeps.

I want to highlight a few things here:

Weeping God is not a distant or absent God but one who is present and close to us. 

… is God angry with us, humanity, and allowing this to punish us?

You can only see the tears of one who is close to you. God is with us when we are hurting and mourning. He doesn’t abandon us but weeps with us. He feels our pain, fear, and anxiety. He identifies with us as he is moved by what we are going through; our life matters to him, and he connects with us by connecting with our tears or participating in our life’s pain.

So, what does ‘God is with us’ mean? How can I be sure of it?
Let me share a story… being a pastor to the high-security prisoners, I often sat with those who had lost their loved ones. I cannot forget once when I had to break the sad news to one of the inmates about the death of his mother. On hearing it, he wept like a baby. My heart wept for him, and to calm him, I asked, “when did you last see her?” He paused, wiped his tears and said, “I don’t remember seeing her or knowing her. When I was a baby, less than a year old, she was arrested for a drug crime and had been locked up ever since.” He grew up in the streets and now was weeping for a mother who was never there and is now no more. At that moment, we both felt the sacred presence in that prison as we shared the pain, loss, anger and the mystery together. God walks towards us when we are hurting, not away from us.

Weeping God doesn’t mean he is helpless or powerless, but he is in total control. 

God walks towards us when we are hurting, not away from us.

That’s what we see in the story, he knew what he was going to do, yet he wept. He is very much present in full humanity and divinity in our time of trouble. He knows what he is doing and therefore wants to stay with those who are feeling lost and alone. His delay doesn’t mean that he wants to kill us; the disease kills us, but God heals us. Jesus came that day to resurrect his friend and has come to give life.

So, what does it mean that God is in control? Let me share what one of our friends, who is a nurse in an intensive care unit, mentioned the other day. She said that amid fear, death, and uncertainty when she puts on her gown and steps in the ward, she somehow feels it’s going to be alright. There will be people saved, and the patients will get back to their lives because the medical professionals are there with them.

Weeping doesn’t mean it is the end, but indicates that a morning is coming soon. 

The scripture says that the mourning may last for the night, but the joy comes in the morning. It is going to be a glorious day once again as the sun rises and when we allow the Son to rise in our lives. Jesus wept. Then he prayed. Then He showed God’s glory by resurrecting Lazarus back to life. The darkness and fear of death were gone, and once again, a new day had dawned. May we, when we weep, trust the God who is present. May we, when we feel helpless, see the God who is in control and able to restore things in our lives.

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Jesus On the Holy Spirit

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because He has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor;
He has sent me
to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind
to release the oppressed
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour
(Luke 4:18-19).
That is what Jesus read in the synagogue at Nazareth. Jesus had remained at home till He was thirty years old. After briefly asserting His identity as God’s son, Jesus went back to Jerusalem to learn carpentry from Joseph, and when Joseph died Jesus became known as the Carpenter of Nazareth (Mark 6:3). Jesus stayed to look after the carpenter’s shop until His younger brothers were old enough to look after His mother. So at the age of thirty, He set out to find the wild prophet John the Baptist. John reluctantly baptised Him. The Holy Spirit took possession of Him and He withdrew into the desert. There He had a war with the devil and triumphed over His enemy. Jesus began to preach in the towns of Galilee. The news about Him spread. Eventually He came back to Nazareth, and on the Sabbath He stood up in the synagogue and read the prophecy of Isaiah (61: 1-2). Having read it He quietly announced, “This prophecy is fulfilled today” (Luke 4:21). When people today read the words that Jesus read, they skip the first part and focus on the last part of what He read:
  • Preach good news to the poor
  • Proclaim freedom to prisoners
  • Command healing for the blind
  • Liberate the oppressed
  • Proclaim the arrival of God’s redemption
In the last part there is action, and we are a generation that favours activism. However, the subject of our Lord’s reading is the Holy Spirit Himself, not the activity that occurs as a result of the Spirit’s anointing. It was His relationship with the Spirit that was the main issue. The forms of ministry were only incidental to the Spirit’s presence.
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