Friday, July 29, 2011

so is He there when hearts stop beating?

Mom, can God see into our house?

(doubting Thomas Jacob Daniel)

Through curtains?


Through walls?

Deep thought, wrinkled forehead, trying to come up with a place God can't reach. . .

Through really, really gross, green, dark water?

And the privilege of reminding him that God sees in the uttermost parts of the sea is mine.

He sees.

He knows.

What does He see when our hearts break?

Two thousand years ago, Martha, grieving the sudden death of her brother, cries out to Jesus. . .

Why didn't You come?

You could have healed.

You are big enough to stop this.

You are God, we believe that!

We even know he'll rise again!

But why didn't You come?

And Mary, the one who chose the better part, seconds Martha's cries. . .

Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.

John says that Jesus was troubled and deeply moved in His spirit, standing in the middle of the street where the sisters had stopped Him. . .

He asks them where their brother is, and they lead an ever-present, all-seeing, all-knowing God to a cemetery.

And He weeps.

I wonder, like many others before me, why He wept.

Does He weep for mammas down through the ages who rail at the Heavens why weren't You there?

Did He weep because our earth is so needy and so hurting and because He knew the Road to our Redemption was full of pain and loss for Him?

Did He weep for brave Stephen who chose stones over survival and forgiveness over understandable vindication?

Did He weep for His mother, who would watch her Son die?

Did He weep because they didn't understand the complete irony of taking God to see a grave?  

Did He weep because they don't understand that He was there?

Does He still weep because I don't want to believe that He was there?

Tonight I tell my son precious words that I stored in my heart as a child:

Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Where can I flee from Your presence?

If I go up to the Heavens, You are there.

life is beautiful, You are there

If I make my bed in hell, You are there.

life has crushed me, and You are still there

If I take the wings of the morning

when my heart is strong

or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea

when I am sinking

even there Your Hand will guide me, Your right Hand will hold me fast.

But do I believe that He can see into my house?

I've cried too, Jesus, why weren't You there?

And isn't that actually so much easier to cry out than the alternative?

Because what if He did see that little bed, what if He did hear my little man's heart stop beating, what if He was there?

Then I am faced with believing exactly what I say I believe, that He is there.

And crying why weren't You there is really denying that He is God, and pretending that God is surprised and caught off guard by small white caskets ignores the reason He came.

My heart shrinks from thinking about these things.

It's deep, and it's hard, and it hurts.

But the longer my heart knows the pain of death, the more I rejoice that He came to free us from this aching loss.

The more it hurts, the deeper I see the need for redemption.

And then I have to say. . .

I am so grateful, Jesus, that You see me.


  1. Thinking about your words tonight and praying for you!

  2. Beautiful words...and so true.

    Hard to believe, though, isn't it?

    I struggle with it too....

    Thanks for your words today. They touched my heart.


  3. reminds me of a song I like to sing-
    ' He is there when dreams have failed me, when I'm weak and can not stand, and when the storms of life assail me, I reach out- & find His hand.

  4. just wanted to say thank you for that. also, i reposted it to my blog (with a link back to your blog). my husband and i were just talking today about what Jesus may have been weeping over when Lazarus died. thank you for articulating your thoughts through this stage in the grieving process. i've been reading up on john wooden (legendary coach) as a man to emulate as i begin my first vball season as coach this fall and when talking of losing his wife he said he eventually got past the grief, but never over the loss. praying for the strength and continued hope and grace to get through all this while reflecting His glory. thanks again.

  5. So tenderly and beautifully and powerfully said! <3

  6. Thank you for your words! What a struggle life is sometimes. As I continue to grieve over the loss of my 2 premie grandchildren, and as I grieve over my children's hurt and sorrow, your words minister to my heart. Lord, make your presence known to the sorrowful.