Is Jesus Really Concerned About Us?

Recently, I met a woman at a store. She was very pleasant in our conversation, and I took her to be genuinely warm and kind and a conscientious mother. Then, the conversation turned to what I do for a living. This is always a critical moment in a new conversation because when I tell people that I am a pastor, often the conversation is over.

In this instance, the conversation wasn’t over; it just became a little bitter. It seemed that just an admittance that I am a pastor caused some pain — pain caused by this woman and her relationship with God. We ended the conversation quickly and she went on her way.

Why is it that conversations about God can sometimes cause people to enter into pain? Could it be that in life, God can sometimes seem far away — distant from our sufferings and uncompassionate toward our circumstances? So, when we even hear God mentioned, we feel a swipe of pain run through our stomach or heart or head or wherever. We tend to stay away from relationships that have hurt us …

In John 11 of the New Testament we read about a kind and warm person named Mary. She and her sister Martha were good friends with Jesus, and it seems that Jesus felt at home with them and their brother Lazarus. Well, when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, Jesus didn’t come right away to Lazarus’ side to speak healing over him. Instead, Jesus arrived after Lazarus was in the tomb for four days. Lazarus was dead and beginning to decay.

Mary was upset with Jesus when he arrived. She couldn’t even come out to see him when he was close by, and when she did talk with him, she fell at his feet and through tears said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Mary was devastated. Her brother needlessly died. Jesus could have saved him! The hurt washed through Mary … the pain was such that she couldn’t even stand.

Jesus was in such emotional stress to see his friend suffering that we read the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept.” Then Jesus went to the tomb, told others to remove the stone in front of the entrance, and said, “Lazarus, come out.” Lazarus, restored to life after four days, came out.

The words that grab my heart in this story are, “Jesus wept.” Jesus felt the pain of suffering, and as he watched his good friends mourn, his own heart broke. This is Jesus — he knows our pain, he knows our suffering. He looks at us when we cry and a tear rolls down his own cheek.

You see, after his own death, Jesus was resurrected to life and now is in heaven. He looks on us with compassion and love. We don’t always get our way … people will die around us … but, our Lord is there to bring comfort and love, to hold our hand, wipe the tears from our eyes, breathe on us with grace and carry us through anything we may face.

Jesus Christ is not far away, by the Holy Spirit he is right here — ready to walk with us through anything life may throw our way. Sometimes he breaks in with power and sets us free. But, all the time he holds our hand — even carries us in his love.

– Dave Huizenga