June 21, 2016 by ZZ Ramirez
Jesus Wept and So Did I: Grieving After Tragedy
I remember the first time death encountered my life. I was in middle school. One of my dearest friends took his life. It devastated me. I instantly wanted to die. Yes, I thought of taking my life at the age of 13. Pain, fear, loneliness, and guilt, all had a hay day in my mind and heart. Now, I wasn’t a believer at 13, but I was “churched”. What I mean is that I went to church, heard good teachings, lifted my hands during worship, and I even sang in the choir, I was not a Christian. I had learned the proper way to act and how to respond to things to make it seem like I was a genuine. I learned to mask who I was. When the properly masked child threatens suicide, that proper image, and perception, flew out the socially acceptable Christian window.
My poor mom…she pulled my siblings and me out of school. She was most certainly concerned for me and wanted me to live. All I knew was pain and hurt. This was me at 13, grieving the loss of my friend. I’m most certainly not condoning suicide or rebellion. However, I am being vulnerable and brutally honest. Grief isn’t a linear, cookie cutter process. As believers, we shouldn’t be ashamed of the grieving process and we most certainly shouldn’t try to band-aid, hide or discourage the natural process of loss.
There’s a piece of scripture that my mom used to minister to me in those dark times. It’s the shortest verse that is found in the Bible…
“Jesus wept.”. John 11:35
The scripture, contextually, is found after time where Lazarus; a friend of Jesus’ died. As the scripture reads, Jesus received word of His friend Lazarus’ grave state and was asked to come to see him. Jesus encouraged his family with a prophetic declaration. He said,
” This illness does not lead to death, It is for the glory of God so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” John 11:4
He stays where He is for two more days. After the delay Jesus shares that Lazarus has fallen asleep. The disciples thought he meant a nap. But in fact, Jesus shared plainly that Lazarus had died. Jesus arrives on the scene, and as you can imagine, there are tears, accusations, questions, and fears. Once He enters into their home, He comforts the family and grieves with them. Here we have a glimpse into the grieving heart of Jesus. The book of Isaiah speaks of the
“Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.” Isaiah 53:3
Jesus knows the pain of loss first hand, and He was holy and pure while going through the process.
Over a few days, there were several tragedies in my city (Orlando). I want to speak into the taboo there is around being a Christian. You know, the one where everyone thinks that as a believer, we have to have it all together. That it’s “unspiritual” and exudes a “lack of faith” to mourn and grieve and question the things that are happening in your life that don’t add up to rainbows and unicorns! That not having an answer to the questions people ask, may somehow negate the sovereignty and omnipotence of God. I am a firm believer that sometimes not having the “proper words” to say when someone asks you,” why is all of this happening?” or “How could God let this happen?” is exactly where we need to be. It’s the place of faith. It’s the place of uncertainty where God likes to dwell. It’s the moment where Jesus turned to Lazarus’ family and said,
“It’s for the Glory of God so that the Son of man may be glorified, through it!”
Jesus didn’t explain his tears. He was processing the death of his friend, through the lens of eternity! He simply wept with those who were weeping. He was mourning with those who were mourning and from that place, resurrection power was released. Jesus spoke life into death. Jesus wasn’t displaced because He mourned. Jesus demonstrated full authority in the midst of mourning and grieving. I believe that we are called to do the same! So many of us cry out to see a revival in our regions and nations. I know I do, daily. What if this is what revival looks like? In the wake of the tragedies in Orlando, a powerful spiritual attribute has been birthed: unity. Churches are coming together under the same John 11 mandate, and I believe that we are at the turning point in our city, region, and nation. I believe that we will see an increase of salvation, deliverance, healing, miracles, and signs and wonders. We must know that we are not powerless in our grieving. We are in the place of partnership with our Father and His heart, and from this place we can command that the stones be rolled away, life to return to the dead and the grave-clothes (shackles) be removed from an entire generation!
Latest posts by ZZ Ramirez (see all)
- Jesus Wept and So Did I: Grieving After Tragedy - June 21, 2016
- Finding Redemption After Christian Music Producer Stole So Much More Than Money - May 31, 2016
- Worship: On Earth as It Is in Heaven - May 11, 2016