Throughout history, human beings have struggled with questions about our identity and place in the world, the hunger to satisfy the desires of the flesh, and how best to answer the call of the Spirit.
Whether we are saints, poets, mystics or simple men and women – young or old - with a heart for God and a yearning to know the truth of who we are in him, the answer is the same. Our hope is in Christ.
Lazarus had been four days in the tomb when Martha, who had always been so caught up in the cares of this world, accosted Jesus, questioning his motives. She said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21 ESV).
In the company of her grief, Jesus gave Martha a profound revelation of himself, saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet he shall live” (11:25).
Her sister Mary, who had been sitting shiva in the house, came to meet Jesus at the tomb. What had this woman who had worshipped at the Master’s feet been contemplating in the castle of her soul as she mourned the death of her beloved brother?
Mary and Martha knew the Lord intimately. They had shared bread with him, listened to him speak, witnessed miracles. And yet, in a dark hour they doubted even their own experience of him.
But Jesus did not reject them. He did not abandon them. He wept with them and met them in the place of their suffering, deeply moved. Jesus did not reject, he restored.
Finally, Teresa of Avila said, “Oh, how everything that is suffered with love is healed again!” (45).
And Emily Dickinson wrote of that feathered hope,
“I’ve heard it in the chilliest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of Me.”
When you are suffering the pain of loss or grief, confusion or doubt – come to Jesus, and find hope and strength in every circumstance.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me” (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT).
Avila, Teresa. The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, vol 2. Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 2011. Print.
Dickinson, Emily. The Seagull Book of Poems. 4th ed. Ed. Joseph Kelly. 79 - 83. New York: Norton, 2018. Print.