Weep With Jesus
This Remembrance Day, hearts heavy with thoughts of past and current conflict and perhaps pain and loss in our own personal lives, Jonathan, Youth Minister at St George & St Paul, Tiverton, reminds us of the comfort we can receive in Jesus' arms.
As the UK prepares for Remembrance weekend, we reflect back on the two World Wars and many other conflicts around the world, during which so many people have lost their lives. We remember their lives, their sacrifices but also the families, friends and loved ones that were left behind. With the ongoing wars in the Ukraine, Russia, Israel and Gaza pain and suffering seem closer and much more real than usual. As we think of conflicts around the world this weekend, we might also reflect on pain and tension much closer to home: maybe we have lost a loved-one over the past year or witnessed the breakdown of relationships which impacted us deeply. Fear, anxiety, death and pain seem to be all around us and they form one of the most frequently asked questions in relation to your faith: Where is God in all this?
Over the past week I have been reflecting on the book of Job which tells the story of a man, battling with the reality of suffering in his life. Job is described as blameless, upright and God-fearing (Job 1:1) - yet he lost everything and found himself at rock-bottom, trying to square-up his knowledge that God is ultimately good, powerful and majestic with his experience of utter despair and isolation. Throughout the dialogue with his friends, he becomes brutally honest with God, accusing him, shouting at him and demanding answers. Yet in the midst of it all he also proclaims these beautiful words: “I know that my redeemer lives!” [Job 19:25]
This struck me deeply as I read these verses for the first time: despite the reality of suffering in our lives, we can be confident that our redeemer, Jesus, is more powerful than anything we might encounter here on earth. This might sound like a text-book answer, but has huge implications: through his death and resurrection, Jesus dignifies our suffering by taking it seriously. He doesn’t just brush our emotions and worries under the carpet, pointing to bigger things at stake, but instead directly deals with them: in the same way God drew close to Job in the Old Testament, inviting him into a conversation and giving him time to work through his grief, Jesus spent time with people who lost everything, who felt misunderstood, undervalued and without hope, without minimising the impact of grief and pain.
The same is true today. Jesus is still in the business of drawing close to us today, taking our concerns and anxiety very seriously. Jesus still invites us today to sit with him, to wrestle, shout, cry and work through the pain in our lives, so that we might encounter a God who is ultimately powerful and majestic, yet personal, patient and wonderfully caring.
In John 11:35 Jesus is described as weeping over the death of his best friend. If Jesus is allowed to do that, surely so should we!
Dealing with loss and anxiety is not easy, but I hope you find some time this week to ponder this truth and find rest and peace in His arms.
If you want to continue to reflect on remembrance and Jesus’ reaction to the suffering around him, may I suggest you watch this video from Dai Woolridge, a spoken words artist from the Bible Society. Blessings Jonathan (Youth Minister)
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