by Steve Hale
"Jesus wept" ( John 11:35)
Our Lord was personally very close to three siblings, citizens of the town of Bethany, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. John opens chapter 11 by saying: "Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany..." ( John 11:1).
The sisters sent for Jesus, who was in Jerusalem, only two miles away ( John 11:2-3, 18). "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus" ( John 11:5). During his delay in coming, Lazarus died. Jesus said: "...Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up" ( John 11:11). The disciples
thought he meant a restful sleep, but the Lord spoke of his death ( John 11:12-13). He finally told them plainly what he meant ( John 11:14).
Jesus found that Lazarus had been dead four days ( John 11:17). His sisters told Jesus had He been there, Lazarus would not have died. He asked Mary where they
had laid him as he groaned in His spirit, and they took him there. At the site of Lazarus's burial, "Jesus wept."
It hurts! August, 1967. September, 1987. October, 1995. These are months and years I will never forget; August of 1967 marks the death of my mother's father, Benton McMillin. He and I were buddies...we fished together, watched baseball together, and were even roommates. His death hurt me so deeply, I couldn't even talk about it for years.
September, 1987. This was the death of my mother, Katherine McMillin Hale. She was a wonderful mother, and one of the most positive, optimistic people I've ever known. Her passing still hurts.
October, 1995. This was the death of my father, 'E.C. "Dusty" Hale. He loved us and was a faithful father and husband. He had a tough, tough job as a T.B.I. agent. To this day, I wish I could call him up and tell him about the children or ask him how to fix something.
It just hurts. I ache as I type this. I know many of you are hurting too. But, what can we do?
1. Talk to God about it. His Son knew all about it with Lazarus. -God knows, all about it through His Son. Be honest, even if you're angry with God about it. He cares, listens, and responds to our needs!
2. People are good medicine. Don't become a hermit, get out and enjoy your friends and brethren ( Romans 12:9,15; 1 Corinthians 12:26).
3. Have reasonable expectations. It's hard and it hurts. With the Lord's help, you'll be okay.
4. Confide in your friends. Talk about it. It hurts, but we must go on and keep the faith!
January 4, 1997
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