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.
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.
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.