Tears are Enough

If you play any Bible trivia game, you're bound to get the question: What is the shortest verse in the Bible? If you don't already know and you'd like to tuck this one away for a sure win, the answer is John 11:35, "Jesus wept."

This verse comes towards the end of an account of Jesus being called to his friends' home where their dear brother, Lazarus, was ill and then lying dead. Upon arrival at the home, Jesus sees his friends and their community gathered around Lazarus distraught and in tears. Jesus looked at the entire scene before him with great compassion, verse 33 says He was troubled and deeply moved. His response was no words only weeping. Sometimes the best thing to say is saying nothing at all. Jesus shows us that it's ok not to have words.

The friends had called for him, they begged for help while their brother was ill and then when he had fallen into death they became agitated, even telling Jesus if He had only come sooner He could have prevented this. Don't we do the same thing when someone is gravely ill or tragedy strikes? I find myself shaking my fist at God demanding and answer. "Where were you?" or "You could have prevented this."

Deep down as a Believer in Jesus I know that His ways are not ours and He has a plan that works out in the midst of pain and suffering. I know that the Lord allows us to question and be angry and sad, Jesus didn't reprimand the friends who questioned Him. He had compassion. The roots of the word compassion mean, "to suffer with". There is something comforting to know that Jesus suffers with us in the hardships of this life and that when He was met with the unthinkable He said nothing and simply cried with and for His friends.

I try to teach my kids that sometimes the best wisdom is knowing what not to say. We don't always have to give an answer for tragedy or a solution for a problem. Our job as brothers and sisters in Christ is to be like Christ and suffer with our loved ones. To come alongside and just be. The hard truth is not one of us has the answers for the tragedies in life. Like God said to Job who questioned Him, "Where were you when I formed the world..." As much as we'd like to think we are in control, we are not.

So when the unbearable news comes and we face those who suffer deeply it's ok to say nothing and simply shed tears. Romans 12:15 says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep." No need for explanations, advice, questions or comments; Jesus showed us that tears are enough.