Lenten devotion for John 11:1-44 “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died…” “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” I don’t know if it’s just because I’m ‘a guy,’ but the thing that got me through the darkest time in my life was anger at God. My wife, Karen, got sick with a chronic illness when we were 26, just after our 3rd anniversary, and she lived with this for almost 8 years. It wasn’t fair, she didn’t deserve it, and it felt like God was ‘out of town.’ This was the prime of our life and she was sick, and I was a caretaker. I made friends with the book of Job, and I found that God was big enough to make space for me to be ANGRY – “WHY!?” But I also found that anger was not a sin or a lack of faith, because it kept the conversation between God and me going.
Jesus began to weep. God never answered Job’s whys, nor did God answer mine, nor did Jesus answer those of Mary or the crowd in this passage. But we do hear confirmation of a quote I once heard. “When tragedy strikes, God’s heart is the first to break.” I don’t know why Karen got sick (I never really thought God caused it), but I do know that God was profoundly present, even, and especially, when I thought God was very far away. And through both my tears and God’s, I have a much better awareness of just how big God, and God’s love, is for us.