Called to the Desert: When God Weeps
Have you ever seen God weep? When death grasped Lazarus in its jealous grip, divine tears rained on the dust from which humanity was first raised. A body once full of life fell victim to decay. Four days earlier Lazarus’ breath had departed his ailing frame. Inert he lay upon a stone slab, awaiting the promised resurrection.
Huddled with Lazarus’ mourning sisters, Jesus grieved with Mary and Martha. The tears of God mingled with the sorrow of humanity. He met their loss and embraced their uncertainty. “If you had been here, Lord,” they exclaimed. Christ had cleansed lepers, opened blind ears, and turned water to wine, the sisters thought, could he not have healed their infirmed brother? But he had not been there.
“Your brother will rise again,” Jesus said in response.
Mary and Martha, like many Jews, held tightly to the resurrection promised at the end of days. “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake,” Daniel had prophesied, “some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). The captivity of death was a limited slumber in the dust, but the watchman had yet to rouse the sleepers to morning. Night still reigned.
Christ, however, triumphantly declared, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Then he turned his tear-stained eyes to Lazarus’ sealed tomb.
“Remove the stone,” Jesus commanded. Horrified, the crowd of mourners reminded Christ that Lazarus had been four days in the grave, wrapped in death’s pungent odor.
Unmoved, the Lord insisted the stone be rolled away. As the grave’s seal was broken, the Life of the World called his dead friend to rise. With fresh breath, Lazarus emerged from the sepulcher’s prison. He walked into the renewed life promised to all God’s children.
“The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die,” Christ had spoken to Mary and Martha moments before resurrecting their brother. The Son of God who would shortly taste bitter death promised us the sweetness of unending life.
Though the earth is jealous to recover our sacred dust, God defies death. The One who conquered mortality will soon break the seal over our graves. He is the resurrection and the life. Though we slumber briefly in the dust, the Watchman will rouse the morning. The One who wept over our death will soon rejoice with the rising of eternity’s sun. From the dust we will rise again.