Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mary, sister of Lazarus -- Unanswered Questions

John 11:32 - "Lord, if you had been there ... "

“Where were you?” she called out, crying as she ran to him. “You could have saved him.” Exhausted from four days of mourning, Mary collapsed in front of Jesus. “You could have--” her voice cracked, “you could have saved my brother.” She waited for the question to be answered, but the man who claimed to be God said nothing.

Speak to me, her eyes pleaded. Yet Jesus continued to remain quiet. His silence only seemed to tear deeper into her exposed wound. Having suffered her brother’s recent death, the apparent unresponsiveness to her question gnawed at her already raw emotions. She dropped her face into her hands, muffled her crying and then mouthed the words, Where were you?

Though friends had followed her out to the tomb offering their support, Mary found no rest in their kindness. There was no assurance in their words. She needed to hear from the God who came to Earth as a man; she had to feed upon the voice of her Creator. Please, the dire prayer formed on her lips, answer me …

The death of her brother was horrible enough, but to be seemingly ignored by the one who created her was an unbearable isolation. She might as well have been tossed into a heavy sack and thrown into a deep, bottomless well.

But then the unexpected happened. Mary lowered her hands and found her answer, but it did not come from the lips of Jesus; it came from his face. She saw that he was moved by her anguish and that his spirit was troubled as he watched those around also hurting.

Jesus wept.

The Creator of the universe was left speechless when posed with a simple question. Where were you? Her God was answering, but in a way Mary could never have imaged -- He was weeping with her.

How do you think your own difficult questions are answered?