My daughter, after traveling from Italy back to Spain, was not allowed back into her apartment due to the COVID-19 fears of Italy’s outbreak.
Devastated, she searched for a new apartment. Fortunately, she found one with a new roommate. Suddenly, Madrid shut down and people were told to stay home unless they needed to shop for essentials. She wanted to come home to us because she couldn’t work or go anywhere there. Then, regulations were imposed, keeping her from coming home.
My family is definitely feeling this.
Concerning the emotions we’re feeling that have come from major adjustments in our community and world, revolving around the impact of COVID-19, my question is: What does God think about what we’re feeling right now?
Stay with me. The answer can be quite calming.
We can catch a glimpse of how God thinks in similarly stressful times by looking into the mind of Christ as given to us in stories from the first century. One such story unfolds in a tragedy that impacted a whole community Jesus loved. It’s only recorded in one place in scripture, John 11.
In that passage, Jesus hears of His close friend’s very bad illness. Purposely, Jesus takes His time going to see Lazarus. As He leaves to go to see him, He tells His disciples Lazarus has already died, and that He is glad about it. He uses an analogy essentially to tell them they need to see light in the middle of darkness, good in the middle of the bad. As He approaches the community, both Lazarus’ sisters verbally express disappointment that if Jesus had come earlier, Lazarus wouldn’t have died.
We all know how the story ends. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Yay! However, there is a small statement in the middle of it all that tells us how God thinks about people going through very troubling times.
Look at the shortest verse in the English Bible, John 11:35. It simply says, “Jesus wept.” As He looks at the crowd around the tomb, knowing He’s about to raise Lazarus back to life, He cries. Why? He knows they will get past this — that things will get better. They’re not realizing Jesus has this — He’s going to fix it. He could have hammered them for not having faith. The Son of God was there to rescue the day, but they were way too focused on the negative. So?
Even though it might not have made sense to be so worked up about Lazarus’ death since Jesus was there to fix it, and even though Jesus clearly knew there was no reason for all those people to be so upset, He wept.
This is how the mind of God works in times like these. Even if we are unnecessarily panicking about things, overly anxious and should have more faith, Jesus understands we’re hurting — whether it makes sense to Him or not.
You see, when we’re afraid, anxious, sad or hurting, He hurts with and for us. The smallest verse in the English Bible might just be huge for us right now. Yes, this will pass. Things will get better. Still, right now as we struggle through all these uncertainties, Jesus feels our struggles. He understands.
May we find comfort in knowing our Lord feels what we feel — even if we are overreacting. When our pain, fear, anxiety, sadness, loneliness or whatever feels overwhelming, He cries and hurts with and for us. When our negative emotions might not even make sense, He cries. He really does get us — even if we don’t quite understand ourselves.
Pastor Jeff Adams is a professional Christian counselor who travels the world teaching but serves our community. His column appears weekly. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.