It is the shortest verse in the Bible, and for some reason, when we’re kids, that’s the detail that we focus on.
It seems so cool, that there is a two-worded sentence in the Bible. It becomes a main question in our Sunday School trivia games.
What is the shortest verse in the Bible?
“John 11:35,” we’d shout the answer, “Jesus wept” we’d add the verse, because it just seemed really cool back then to know the whole verse even if it was only two words.
This verse has read a little differently for me, here lately.
Most days, I do okay.
I’m navigating this hard change of seasons, and it’s really pretty manageable, even though the grief I feel is always close to the surface. I even allow myself to let my grief be as loud as I feel is necessary, but I always feel like I have to follow it up with hope.
I grieve the loss of my husband especially on the nights like last night when I still reach my leg across the bed in search for him when I’m half asleep– BUT I know where he is, and I can rest in that.
I miss my dad, especially today when he’s been gone for seven months exactly, and I have big decisions to make in life, and no one to really talk them through with– BUT I know where he is, and I can rest in that.
I’ve clung to these moments of rest, and the verses of hope. I’ve clung to the purpose in God’s plan, his faithfulness to me, and his promise of a Revelations 21:4 eternity with no more pain, or death, or tears. I’ve sought out any hope I can find, I’ve read everything about heaven, and our new bodies, and life in God’s presence, and then I picture my people there, and I feel so happy for them.
Unfathomably happy for them. Tearfully happy for them. Enviously happy for them.
Most days I can do this.
But today I’m sad.
Today, I’m here.
Today, I’m hurting, because being here can be really hard. I’m hurting because no matter what is promised to me at the end of this life, at the end of this pain, I’m not there yet, and Lord willing, I won’t be there for a quite a while, and I know this a blessing, really. It gives me the opportunity, and it truly is an incredible opportunity, to live a purpose for my life, and to try to live it well.
But it is also so heavy.
This pain, this ache, this exhausting feeling of missing someone so dearly, and recognizing that they will be missing from me for the rest of my life, and therefore, I have to feel this ache of missing them for the rest of my life—It is so heavy. It is so hard to carry.
So today, I didn’t want to read about Heaven, because I’m not there yet, at least not all of me.
Today, I’m not interested in the verses of hope, in the words of Revelation 21:4. I don’t really care that one day, He’ll wipe away every tear from my eyes, because the tears are there now.
Today, I don’t care that death will be no more, because it still exists right now, and it still took my favorite people, and I’m still stuck here to endure every hour of the rest of my life without them.
Today, I don’t care about the fact that one day, there will be no pain, because today there is. Today, I am suffocated by it.
Some days, I cling to Revelation 21:4, but I couldn’t today. Today, I didn’t need a reminder of what’s ahead of me, because today, I feel grounded to this life, because I am grounded to this life, and I need something that will encourage me to remain grounded to this life for as long as I’m called to be so.
Today, I need to endure, and in that, I need to remember who also endured. I need to remember that the same man who rose to one day give me this hope in a Revelation 21:4 finish, was the same protagonist of the shortest verse in the bible.
Today, I needed to remember that Jesus wept.
I needed to remember that the man with an inside scoop on God’s plan, the plan for His life, the plan for my life, the plan for the entire kingdom, also knows the weight on my shoulders, and he knows it because a similar weight was once also laid on his.
He knows how it feels for me to lose my best friend. He did it too, and it made him weep.
Sunday School never quizzed you on the story of why Jesus wept. No one tells you that he had just found out that his own dear friend had passed away. No one tells you that he was distressed after seeing his loved ones weeping. Verses 33-35 (NLT) says:
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the people who had come with her weeping, he was intensely moved in spirit and greatly distressed. 34 He asked, “Where have you laid him?” They replied, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.
Jesus knew that his friends’ pain would be short-lived. He might have even known that short-lived for them would be a matter of seconds.
He went on, and he raised Lazarus from the dead. He turned their pain to triumph.
Jesus knew the resolution ahead of them, just like he knows the resolution ahead of me, and you, and anyone else determined to one day reach that Revelation 21:4 finish.
He knows that joy comes in the morning.
But he also recognizes the pain in the night.
He wept, and what he wept for was the pain that they endured in that moment—the pain of the present, the pain that he knows we have to endure.
And that’s what I needed today. I didn’t need Christ’s hope. I didn’t need Christ’s reassurance. I didn’t need a story of his great plan for my pain.
I needed His empathy.
I needed that part of him, that part of Heaven that existed on Earth and endured the thing that I’m currently struggling through.
I needed to know that the one who holds my tomorrow, also holds me right now.
I needed to know that the one who knows any story of victory still ahead of me, who sees any rise from the ashes that may occur, also knows and cares about the pain of my heart at this very second.
Jesus knows the hope in the promise made to those who endure.
And tomorrow, I might cling to that promise again.
But today, I’m still enduring, and he knows that too. He knows that this process is tiresome, grief filled.
And because of this, I don’t think I weep alone.
And today, that thought means everything to me.