Good morning, all! Today’s Lenten devotional comes to us from Megan Eastabrook. Megan works as the TCU College Advising Corps Coordinator at O.D. Wyatt High School. She is also currently pursuing her Master’s in Social Work. I have had the privilege of knowing Megan for many years, and she embodies kindness, passion, and peacemaking. For those whom life’s heavy burdens are abundant this morning, I hope you find comfort in today’s devotional.
An excerpt from John 11: The Death of Lazarus
When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
(Content warning: grief and death)
One thing that lent calls to mind is the humanity of Jesus in the way he faces death. Much before his own death, he encountered the death of a dear friend, Lazarus.
In January of 2020, my aunt was diagnosed with cancer. She had a couple of surgeries and faced the consistent ups and downs of cancer, but her doctors were hopeful. One day in August of that year, I was on the phone with my mom who was at the hospital with my aunt. They were talking about another emergency surgery. This would help. But it didn’t… and one thing led to another and suddenly hospice was called and suddenly I was packing up and leaving Austin to drive to Fort Worth. But I got there too late that night. I would have to wait until the next morning to tell her goodbye. I never got that chance. A nurse called around midnight saying my aunt had passed away.
I envision Jesus waiting a couple of days after hearing of his friend’s illness, not quite sure what to do yet or how to respond… waiting to hear if there would be more news. But when he does finally get there to be with his friend… it’s too late. Lazarus is already gone. And Jesus didn’t get to say goodbye. He wept. He sobbed. He held his angry, grieving friends. Maybe he blamed himself. Maybe he questioned God.
Jesus is not far from our pain. He’s not far from the times we wished we had left a couple hours earlier, from the times we are crying in our dorm room or in our office. In the midst of deep suffering, he weeps with us.
Let us pray.
May the Spirit of the living, resurrected God be present with you in your dorm, your office, your car, your home. Listen in the quiet moments to hear her. May she remind you that you are most surely not alone.