The Upper Room Devotion for Wednesday, April 26, 2023, was written by Navamani Peter of Karnataka, India.
32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus began to weep. 36 So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"
John 11:32-36 NRSV
5 For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5 NRSV
God Who Weeps With Us
My son, who was 19 and a first-year medical student, died suddenly in a swimming accident. We were devastated. In our pain we questioned God: Why did this happen when his future seemed so bright? Many friends visited us to comfort and pray with us. One of my husband’s friends wrote a letter, in which he said, “You must be wondering where God was at that time. He was right there weeping with you.” These words comforted me, and I was reminded of the time Jesus grieved with Martha and Mary when their brother Lazarus died. (See John 11:35.) God is indeed right by our side grieving when we grieve. As time went by, I decided to enroll in seminary to study the scriptures and learn more about the God who weeps with us. I was ordained and worked as a pastor for a few years. I was able to empathize with families who were going through an experience of loss and grief. Four decades after the loss of my son, God is still strengthening me. I have known God’s grace and comfort through the love and encouragement of my husband, my children, and my church community. Our God of compassion and love is good all the time, and I know that a day will come when I will join my son in God’s heavenly presence.
The sudden loss of a loved one can be unbearable, shaking our faith and challenging us to our core. God does not take away our loved ones, nor is God absent from our times of sadness. Navamani’s reflection reminds us that God journeys with us through our seasons of sorrow and grief. May we allow God to partner with us to journey with others, offering the comfort that God had offered us.
Loving Father, thank you for your steadfast love and abiding presence. Fill us with your grace and peace, especially in times of pain in brokenness. Amen.
- Navamani Peter