Devotional Diary: “Jesus Wept” (John 11:35)

I was talking with my 92-year-old precious neighbor about her life and how she is holding up in her older years… a conversation that continues through our days living close by as she roams over to my back yard randomly reaching out for contact and pleasantries.  She’s a beautiful adoring woman, and I am blessed to spend moments with her that inspire me and evoke an emotion so deep about life and living it.

Yesterday, she wandered over again.  We talked.  I offered to take her grocery shopping again… she said maybe, like she always does with a tear in her eye ever since she finally succumbed to not being able to drive.  This was so hard for her.  I remember so vividly hugging her while she cried in my back doorstep sharing the news.  I told her any time she needed to “get out” to call… and she finally did.  I remind her every time I see her that I am always available to help.  She is always amazed at my generosity- and I am always baffled at why.  It’s not difficult to “Go and do” with her.  She and her husband have lived in their home for years, caring for their immaculate lawn and landscape and taking walks around the block.  Truly an amazing story of love and life through the ages.

At 92 years old, the woman is a marvel… walking and talking and always dressed and groomed better than I.  (Not hard to do, but for 92?!)  This woman is always such an amazing testimony to living the journey of life and love and loss…

Every time my dear friend talks with me, she shares about the child she lost.  She has five children… all grown except for one she lost many years ago.  I never quite understood what happened; as her words are often a bit convoluted and the details of her stories are murky at best.  But she always shares this devastating news over and over again, as though it was the first time she told me.  And every time she does, it once again penetrates my heart so deeply at the realization that this precious woman still bears the burden and pain of this trauma, as though it were yesterday.   She sometimes can’t remember the names of her children, the ages, or even what day it is.  But she clearly remembers the day her life changed forever.

I think about my friends who have lost a child.  I think about my friends who have lost a parent.  I think about all the victims of Oklahoma’s tornado, the Boston Marathon, and Sandy Hook… all the way back to Columbine.  I think of the souls lost in wars and poverty across this great land of ours…and further beyond the seas.  I think of everyone that suffers such pain and grief.

And I sit here, my heart so heavy, and filled with such sorrow realizing that grief and loss are forever embedded on humanity’s hearts… lives…struck with an earthly pain that endlessly swallows days, memories, and forever remembering a life that once was.

Although I am not a biblical scholar, I am aware of endless scripture that prevails with devastation, anguish, pain, loss, and also redemption, hope and eternal life in Heaven…  all of which imply that God is fully aware of this human condition.  For He Himself chose to suffer the same loss of His Beloved Son, in the most excruciating way known to man.  And in so doing… gave us new life in Him.

He knows…

And even His own Son, the One Beloved Holy Savior loved and lost, mourned and cried.

Every single time I hear of a tragic loss…

I am reminded of the simple and powerful verse that speaks the heart of all.  After hearing the news that his beloved friend Lazarus had died, the Son of God showed His Humanity.

John 11:35

New International Version (NIV)

35 Jesus wept.

It’s short but oh so sweet… so sweet.

And with loss, my dear 92 year-old friend showed me that it will always be embedded in our fragile hearts for our entire lives…  aching, mourning, weeping, and remembering.

And oh how I pray that all will find comfort in knowing we have a loving and compassionate God who weeps with us.

He cries too…

My prayers are with all who have suffered a loss on this Memorial Holiday.  May you feel His Embrace, and His Tears~

 For you.







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  1. says

    This is so beautiful Chris and it reminds me how we are all connected to each other, through loss. We all have suffered loss, and wouldn’t it be beautiful if when we found ourselves comparing or finding reasons to separate ourselves from people who we don’t like or are criticizing, if we just stepped back and reminded ourselves that we have this common thread with that other person, and with everyone really, and to connect with that other soul with this empathy.

    • says

      Yes! I love that perspective Ilene! It’s just so true that there is no one who doesn’t experience this “human condition”… it is one of the most significant life experiences that every soul endures at one time or another. It unites us all, as we all face mortality and loss.

  2. says

    Oh Chris – this is such a beautiful and compassionate piece. We all feel pain and grief, and yes, it stays with us forever. It changes us. But it is an essential element of being human and loving, isn’t it? Thank you for writing this and sharing your neighbor’s story.

    • says

      I thought of you when I wrote this, Alexa… you were in my heart with a few others who have experienced a painful loss. Oh how I pray you feel Him with you in your moments of grief and sadness! He weeps… too.

  3. another jennifer says

    What a perfect Memorial Day weekend post, Chris. As a painful as it must be to relive the trauma of her losing her child, I have no doubt your neighbor is comforted by your words and your presence.

    • says

      Thanks so much for your sweet encouragement Jen!! It really struck me with our last conversation… that inspired this post. Loss lasts forever. And sometimes the only source of comfort is knowing He cries too… and is with you in your grief.

  4. says

    And then there was Erle. This will always be a sorrowful week for me. . .he fought death hard, but I know God accepted him with open arms. I felt it happen and it was a glorious moment.
    Thanks, again, Chrissy!

    • says

      I think of Erle too… constantly on my heart mom. I re-live that long stormy night and my heart sinks in sadness. I think it so fitting that he left us so closely to Memorial Day. Every time the recital comes around, I am reminded of the news from Candy. My Erle’s legacy and amazing imprint on this world live forever…
      Praying for you through it all, mom.

  5. says

    Beautiful, Chris. Really, truly beautiful. And it embodies the meaning of Memorial Day; it’s not about picnics and bonfires, but about remembering and paying homage to those who fought for our freedoms and paved the way to those picnics and bonfires.

    Thanks for sharing this <3

    • says

      Thanks so much Stephanie!!! There is pain and loss everywhere… and knowing that God’s loving compassion is present during those times of suffering, is such a comfort. xoxo

    • says

      There truly is such comfort in knowing this truth, isn’t there Stephanie? We have a loving and compassionate Creator who understand every condition of the heart. Oh I am so grateful for that promise!!

  6. says

    This is such a wonderful devotion…especially with memorial day being tomorrow. Jesus showed his humanity and also showed that he feels our pain and understands our suffering. It’s wonderful Chris that you can be there for your elderly neighbor. It goes to show that the pain of loss can stay with us for so long. My mom has been gone for almost 5 years and my dad for 3 years and the pain associate with their loss is still so great. This post is very comforting. Have a wonderful Memorial Day.

    • says

      Thank you so much Hope… I know you have that weight of grief on your heart for both your parents. I just can’t imagine that kind of loss and pain… but God can. And I pray that in your moments of sadness, you sense His Comforting Presence…

  7. Tammy says

    Oh the tears are streaming down my cheeks. Such a beautiful story of friendship between neighbors and our friendship with Christ. I can almost see your face as you listen to this woman tell her story of pain and loss again. What a blessing you are – to each other no doubt. We are not made for bearing the weight of loss, are we?…sigh. Thank God for His Son, for His grace, and for welcoming us into his kingdom.

    • says

      Thank you so much for stopping by Tricia! I find so much comfort in knowing God has human tears and compassion for us all… We can always find Him “in it” with us… for that I am so grateful!

    • says

      I honestly thought of you and Meredith (among others) especially when writing this post. I am sure your Mother’s Day was bittersweet, Ashley. Always have you and Meredith in my prayers…

  8. says

    “…God is fully aware of this human condition.”

    And every other condition and emotion we have. Thank you for these words of encouragement!

    Such a beautiful post!


  9. says

    I know your neighbor appreciates your compassion Chris! It means a lot to people to have someone who they can talk to and share their pain. You are most definitely a blessing to her.

    • says

      Thanks so much for your sweet encouragement Michelle!!!! She is such a dear… it’s not often someone like her crosses your path. I am the one that is blessed! 🙂

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