Sometimes I’ve read something in the Bible that seems to contradict something else that I’ve read in another chapter, or another book of the Bible. My mind sees the contradiction. But, my heart knows I’m missing something.
In this past week, I’ve thought about the verses John 11:35 “Jesus wept”. He cried after his friend died. That seems reasonable enough! He has a heart so big that we can’t comprehend it, and compassion so unending that it could never be measured.
But, then there is Luke 9:60 “Let the dead bury their dead”. He said this to a man whose dad had just died. That seems harsh . . but God is not harsh. So, this doesn’t fit. But, the Bible isn’t wrong. So, I’m missing something.
And what I am missing is in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”.
When Jesus’s friend died, Jesus already knew that he wouldn’t stay dead. Jesus had told people that beforehand! He did not keep it a secret. He wasn’t crying for Lazarus. Lazarus’s sister Mary was devastated and heartbroken. And she believed that Jesus could have saved her brother, if he had gotten there in time. He was four days late. She had faith of what Jesus could have done in person, but she thought they missed the chance. And because of her heartbreak, Jesus cried. Don’t ever think that God doesn’t care when your heartbreaks . . he feels it too, and he cries with you. But, he sees the bigger picture. How amazing is that, that he sees the bigger picture . . he knows everything will be ok, but he still cries with us, knowing how we feel. Think of a parent, let’s say a mother (because this is how I’ve gotten to know the heart of God so much better) watching her child go thru something tough. The parent in their years and wisdom can see what is on the other side of the pain; but the kid can’t. And for me, as a mother, my heart breaks with my kids; but I know what’s on the other side of that pain. But, just because I know the happy ending, watching my children suffer slices thru my heart. And Jesus knew that on the other side of their pain, there would be something better and stronger. He even said in his prayer, “I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you (God) sent me”. He could have just healed Lazarus from a distance four days prior. But people needed to see who Jesus was, they needed to learn God’s heart and the depths of his compassion, and that no situation is too far gone for God. We talk about the things Jesus endured on the cross. Sometimes we may forget that he endured things walking around this Earth, just like you and I do. He cared about his friends, he saw them in pain, and he wept. That was the season or the time for empathy, compassion, faith, and miracles.
But to the man who wanted to bury his father . . there were others there to bury the man. Jesus was in front of this guy taking in his disciples. There were only twelve. This was a chance of a lifetime for this gentleman. Traditions can make people feel guilt and responsibility for things that they shouldn’t. This man felt guilt and responsibility to bury his dad . . that doesn’t sound bad in itself. But in doing so, he was passing up on a chance of a lifetime. If I were that guy’s deceased parent, I would be yelling “I’m not in that stupid body anymore. GO WITH JESUS! You’re going to miss your chance!!” It seems like the season for this man was to learn what to make the right decision based on what was right, and not what was expected, or tradition, or emotionally influenced. We don’t hear about that guy again. He probably missed his chance. Then he was left without his dad and without his chance to be a disciple. (But God loves to give extra chances, so maybe we’ll meet him in Heaven one day!)
Tonight I am thankful that life always has seasons. I am thankful that death is never the last page of the story – although it seems that way here on Earth. I am thankful for the season that every soldier’s life played that we remember today. I am thankful for our freedoms. I am thankful for the sacrifices made for these freedoms. And when taps is played, I am thankful for the tear that always seems to escape my eye . . it’s ok to cry and have your heart reach out for those who have lost. It’s a season in life. And there will be another season to get up and go after a chance to change a life. Thankfully the seasons change ❤