We never expect our lives to be touched by tragedy, loss, or betrayal. Even when life gets chaotic we tend to think we are immune from the major traumas. We think they won’t happen to us. Our lives will never be affected by those things. We never believe that our hearts will be shattered.
Yet, in a matter of seconds our lives can be turned upside down.
In no time at all it can seem as if our whole world has fallen apart. We are left broken and feeling directionless. We can question why God allowed things to work out the way they did. Did He just not care? Did we do something wrong? Does He even exist?
We rarely get answers to our questions. In that moment we don’t have any sense of understanding. In that moment, we are simply broken.
The truth is, I cannot tell you why bad things happen. I can’t explain why the people we love hurt and betray us. I can’t explain why some receive healing and others do not. I don’t know why senseless tragedies are increasingly becoming the norm. I cannot answer those questions.
But the one thing I know, is that Jesus wants to walk through the storm with us.
During His time on earth, Jesus routinely stepped into the storms of the people around Him. He healed lepers and the demon possessed. He ministered to adulterous women. He flipped temple tables to end exploitation of those who came to worship. He spoke life into the dead and they rose again.
Jesus was not, and is not, an unemotional, unmoved bystander.
When John the Baptist was beheaded Jesus wanted to be alone. He felt the loss. He was grieving. And yet when a crowd continued to follow Him the Bible says, “He had compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14). In the midst of His own storm, Jesus was still moved with compassion for others.
When Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha died, Jesus was moved. Martha immediately ran out to meet Jesus, but Mary stayed in the house. If I had to speculate, I would guess that Mary did not run out to Jesus because she was hurt. She probably felt that in the greatest trial of her life Jesus did not care enough to save her brother. In the midst of our greatest pain it is so easy to feel as though Jesus does not care, that He has not acted quickly enough, that He’s abandoned us.
But that is not the truth. That was not true for Mary and it is not true for us. The book of John shows us the opposite:
When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. (John 11:32-33 NLT)
Jesus was stirred up. He was not cold or uncaring. He was moved by the grief of the people He loved. Death angered Him. He wept for the loss of His friend and for the suffering of those around Him. He entered into their pain and their grief. And then He raised Lazarus from the dead.
So often our trials do not end in the way that we want. We all want a “Lazarus” type ending. And sometimes we don’t get that. But what we do have is a Savior who is not shocked by our storms nor is He afraid to join us in walking through those storms.
He hears your cries. And He is moved with compassion for you. He wants to meet us in our brokenness.
I do not know where you are at, or what pain you are facing right now. I don’t have the answers to your questions. But I do know that we have a Jesus who who sees our pain and wants to “give [us] a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair,” (Isaiah 61:3.)
If you are in a storm invite Jesus into your brokenness. He wants to give you “beauty for ashes”. He can, and wants to, redeem every trial. He wants to turn the worst things, the most unimaginable pain, into something beautiful. He wants to meet you where you are, even in the midst of the your biggest storm.