Kevin spoke at my cousin Cameron’s memorial this past weekend, and while I’ve edited out some of the more personal statements, I wanted to share a few of his words below.
I know several of you are in a season of grieving…I pray you are comforted a bit through this.
“God doesnâ€™t ignore suffering.
He doesnâ€™t leave us alone to try and pick up the pieces and bear through it. God hears our cries. God even answers our questions â€“ not with some lofty philosophical language, too complicated for us understand – God answers with himself.
In John 11, Jesus received word that his good friend, Lazarus, had died. When Jesus made it to the graveside, the bible tells us, he was moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. Literally, he was quaking with rage. Eventually, Jesus would raise Lazarus from the dead, but before that happened, the reality of losing someone he loved caused Jesus to weep with anger.
Jesus was grieving.
How can the Lord of the world, the one who created all things and knows all things, be angry at something in his world?
Jesus is angry at death because death is an intruder.
We were not created to die. We were meant to grow stronger and more beautiful, rather than becoming weak or sick.
We were meant to grow brighter and brighter, not fade way.
We were meant to last.
Death wasnâ€™t part of God’s original design.
We all sense this. You know deep in your heart you want a life and love that will last forever. This deep longing is part of what it means to be human. That is why we will never make sense of death. No matter how much time passes, when we lose someone, it will never feel normal.
Jesusâ€™ anger and weeping shows us that death is a monstrosity. Yet, at the same time, death is not something we can avoid.
The bible tells us (in Genesis) that when we turned from God who gave us life, sin became part of us.
Everything broken. Our bodies broken. Lives broken. The world broken.
Death is part of that brokenness.
In the story of Jesus and Lazarus, we learn that God does not expect us to face the brokenness of death with strength. God doesn’t demand that we chin up and suppress our feelings.
On the contrary, we find Jesus revealing the heart of God through his grief. He weeps in anger because death is not what we were created for. Death is not a natural part of the circle of life. Death is always too soon.
So, what do we do in the face of death?
We turn to the only one who can offer us the life we were created to live. We turn to the only one who can give us hope of eternal life. We turn to the one who conquered death and overcame the grave.
When you look to the cross, you will find the only one who willingly gave his life, so that you can find yours.
You will find a God who is rich in mercy. You will find a God who loves continually, forgives without exception, and offers a hope you can trust eternally.
You will find Jesus â€“ the same man who wept with anger over death – but did something about it.
Because of that, no matter what happens, we can declare: ‘For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will ever be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8)
Seasons of grief are a time to turn toward Jesus. He is the only one who can make sense of this great loss. He is the only God who grieves with those who grieve and comforts those who mourn.”
Johnny Cash’s “In My Life,” in honor of Cameron.
Kevin Sampson is a pastor and Church Planter in Residence at Mission Church, and blessed to be married to a very lovely woman. You can find him playing with his three boys, reading biographies,or using the Stairmaster in our basement at precisely the moment I want to use it.