Finding Light in the Darkness

It’s raining today. It seems that winter is coming early this year. The clouds have been hanging around a lot lately and the temperatures are cooler than usual. Sometimes it seems that it would be very lovely to have the sun shining all of the time. But the cycles of seasons and the rising and setting of the sun dictate something different. Without the rain, nothing would grow. Living things would wither up and die. So in spite of my desire for perpetual sunshine, I guess the rain serves a greater purpose.

There are times in my life when I wish that it never rained. I like the sunny days filled with energy and optimism and hope. When things grow a little cloudy and the rain comes, I wonder about the purpose of sadness or grief in my life. It is interesting how we are so comfortable with the emotions of happiness and joy but so uncomfortable with sadness and loss.

There is a story in the Gospel of John about the raising of Jesus’ friend Lazarus from the dead. Jesus had received word that his friend, Lazarus, was sick and that he should come to Bethany right away. Instead of leaving for there immediately, however, he stayed where he was a few more days. As it turned out, Lazarus died during that time. Jesus did not head towards Bethany until after Lazarus was dead.

When he arrived he met with a sad scene. Evidently Lazarus was well-known and respected for many people were there mourning his death. Jesus had deliberately delayed going to Bethany in order for Lazarus to die. As he told his disciples, it was for the glory of God to be revealed that he had allowed this tragedy to happen. The greater plan of God was to raise Lazarus back to life.

Jesus knew of this plan and yet when he saw the grief of his friends, the Bible records that he wept. It wasn’t a lack of faith that prompted his tears. He didn’t mourn because he was afraid he would never see Lazarus again. He wept because he felt the sadness and grief of those that he loved. He wept with compassion and love.

What a beautiful statement of the human emotion and compassion that Christ connects himself to us with. When I think of the beautiful life of Jesus and how he so completely connected his life with the Divine I sometimes think that he never felt the emotional impact of living in this world. It is little glimpses of his sorrow that bind my heart to his.

Isaiah calls the Messiah “A man of sorrows acquainted with grief.” He not only knew the bliss of Divine love but was also acquainted with the sorrow and grief associated with being human. You see him struggling in the Garden of Gethsemane with the weight of sin. On the cross a sense of the weight of carrying this burden and the hiding of his Father’s face wrench from his heart and soul the cry of, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

We can call Christ our truest friend because he is intimately familiar with everything that we go through. He has walked the path and knows the way home. This is what brings sunshine into the darkness of our sometimes-rainy days. When the path is hidden from our view and the way forward is uncertain it is by looking for the light that Christ has shone into the world that we can find our way.

To have Christ in our hearts is what is meant by the Psalmist when he says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” To have the Christ power—Logos/word and Sophia/wisdom—in our hearts is to be on the path of en-light-enment. Christ will truly light our way and shine brightness onto our path.


stevezorn said…
Hi Julie,

I never thought of why Jesus cried over the death of Lazarus. Very thoughtful and moving article.


steve zorn