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John 11:31-33(CEB)

 31 When the Jews who were comforting Mary in the house saw her get up quickly and leave, they followed her. They assumed she was going to mourn at the tomb.

32 When Mary arrived where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her crying and the Jews who had come with her crying also, he was deeply disturbed and troubled.


Lazarus had been dead for four days. By the time Jesus reached Martha and Mary, Lazarus’ sisters, they and the mourners were weeping and wailing at Lazarus’ death. When Mary heard Jesus had arrived, she ran to meet him and falling at his feet said, “My Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” This is Mary’s lament, her prayer of sorrow and confusion at this loss. Her statement of faith is that she believes that Jesus is the Christ, but it
is also a plea for help and an accusation. Devastated by the death of her brother, Mary is questioning why Jesus, their friend, did not intervene and instead let this happen? Overcome by grief Mary can only cry out in pain and hopelessness, lamenting Lazarus’ death, unable to speak.

Why lament? Lament is our response to a world of sin and brokenness. It is our outpouring of anger and tears. It is both prayer and worship, grief and suffering culminating in the hope of restoration and redemption. Lament without hope is despair, but we don’t stay stuck in that place, because we trust faithful God to hear us. Lament is the road we journey to healing and wholeness that will strengthen our faith and renew our hope in God as we listen for God’s response.

Many people feel lament shows a lack of faith, but even Jesus cried out to God in lament. Rather than a lack of faith, lament provides us a way forward. We may believe that God no longer hears us, or has abandoned us. We may shake our fists in anger at God, over the brokenness and sin in this world, or weep in sorrow and wail with heart wrenching loss, yet loving God will draw near to us, because we share our honest emotions with God. We give our burdens to God and trust God to hear us as we humble ourselves before God. And God does not condemn us, God’s presence reaches out to hold us and love us. God’s Spirit comforts us. In trusting God, we move from despair to hope.

by Jeneene Reduker

For Pondering & Prayer

At the sight of Mary crying Jesus “was deeply troubled and disturbed.” He had compassion for her suffering, and also wept too. When Jesus gazed into the darkness of Lazarus’ tomb, he saw the terrible path he was about to take, into suffering and death for our sakes. Jesus trusted God to journey with him from lament to resurrection.

Are you in a season of lament? Be comforted and know that God draws near to the broken hearted. Many of us have been taught that showing grief, sorrow or confusion is a lack of faith, or we may be pressured into toxic positivity. But Jesus shows us that sharing our pain and trusting in loving God will bring us from despair to resurrection. Are you ready to trust God so you can move from despair to hope?

Prayer: Holy and Loving God, we cry out to you in the midst of our grief and the brokeness of the world. Be with us as we trust in you to move us from despair to hope. Amen.