John 11:35 – Jesus wept. (NIV)
On May 19, 2001, I received a telephone call to tell me that my friend, Patrick, had just passed away. I had last talked on the telephone with Patrick exactly a week before, and he had assured me that, though he had not been feeling well lately, he was getting better. Indeed, on the Monday of the week he died, he went about his usual work schedule of carrying out land surveys!
Patrick did not die of a sudden accident. It was lung cancer that took his life. Many of his friends, including myself, had not been privy to his cancer problem and, under the circumstances, missed the opportunity of visiting with him in his last hours.
Not knowing how long it will be before a friend departs this earth makes one need some preparation to handle the natural sadness of such a parting. With respect to Patrick, I did not have this preparation and so I received the sad news with shock, accompanied with automatic tears.
But now I must share the rewards I got in exchange for the parting of earthly company with Patrick. Patrick was 58 years old at the time of his death and I was 53 years old. Since Patrick and I had attended many funerals of friends departed, we had shared a common experience on these sad occasions over our years. We had seen a lot of tears shed! It was thus the first time we had been at a funeral service together (his funeral service) that we had observed not a single tear shed in the church! It was, perhaps, the lovely music from the choir of which he had been a member, and the thoughts that our beloved Patrick must be at peace, that kept our tears away. This rare observation was my first reward.
The second reward was a revelation to me as to why my tears had come on first hearing the sad news. The shortest verse in the Holy Bible was such a revelation. Jesus wept. Yes, my Saviour wept at some point in mourning His friend Lazarus. He did not just cry. He wept! Yet he knew that He was going to bring Lazarus back to life — a thing I knew I could not do for Patrick! If Jesus wept over the effect of Lazarus' death even with the power to bring him back to life afterwards, should it surprise anyone, including myself, that my tears often come in mourning circumstances?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing us to cry, only to wipe away our tears with your love and power during those times we mourn our dear departed. We cherish these revelations in the name of Jesus your Son. Amen.