Today, I’m honored to share a post from my friend, author and speaker Dena Dyer. It’s based on her new book, Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Hope When Life Hurts… I so appreciate her heart for hurting people and the wise Biblical counsel she gives.
A friend of mine lost her eighteen-year-old in a horrific car accident, and one of the ministers at her church said to her a few months later, “I thought you’d be better by now.” As if there were statutes of limitations on grieving. As if losing a child was something akin to having surgery.
Friends, that’s not the way Jesus wants us to “do church.”
He asks us to wait in the garden—not to fall asleep—to watch and pray with those who are facing tremendous grief, to the point of sweating blood. He wants us to be patient with them as they wrestle with their faith and doubt.
Can we refrain from giving easy answers, and not give up on our friends as they struggle to find solid ground again? Can we just sit with our relatives and be quiet, entering their sorrow with humility and tears? Remember—this is what Jesus did at the grave of Lazarus, whom He loved. Before He performed a miracle, before He prayed or spoke the truth through Scripture, before He displayed God’s power over death, He entered the suffering of Mary and Martha.
I love this Jesus! He could have marched to the tomb and given orders, knowing that the ending would be happy. Instead, He took time to listen to His friends’ questions, interact with them, and cry with them. I imagine Him reaching out His hands to pull Mary up after she had fallen to her feet in front of Him. I see Him embracing Martha after she spoke of her belief in His divinity. After all, He wasn’t just the Savior of the world—He was human. And through His loving mercy in the face of earthly loss, He shows us how to be a friend to those who truly need it.
Jesus was also passionate about bringing life, not death. Dr. Howard Batson says that Jesus never left a funeral without raising the dead to life. With His compassion and death-erasing power, He turned wakes into parties! And Batson says, Jesus wasn’t discriminatory about who He chose to resurrect. Young, old, male, female…He raised them all: “Scriptures teach us that Jesus is a reuniter. He reunites those who are living with those who have died. And He will do the same for us, reuniting us with our sons, daughters, wives, husbands, parents and friends—because He IS the resurrection and the life.”
As the Creator, one who set up the parameters of life and death before He formed the world, Jesus knew loss was a certainty—but He chose love (not fear or solitude). Throughout Scripture, we see God the Father and God the Son choosing love, pointing the way for us.
So the question is: will we choose love or fear? Solitude or relationship? Especially after devastating losses, will we reach out again and embrace life as the beautiful, mysterious, and ultimately worthwhile risk it is?
Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Jesus’ love binds us as believers in ways we can’t fully understand, at least until we reach heaven. Song of Songs 8:6–7 says, “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.”
I believe that those who’ve preceded us in death love us even better in heaven, because they don’t have the baggage we have on earth. And the love we share with them will be fully realized in our eternal home, much more than it ever was on earth.
If we allow Him to, God takes the love that weaves into and out of our lives and creates a beautiful tapestry. Love—whether it is reciprocated or not—is never wasted, because God is love. Doesn’t Jesus say that whatever we’ve done to the “least of these,” we’ve done unto Him? So even love that can’t—or won’t—be returned is an offering to Him, one that serves and pleases Him. That love becomes a burning flame, lighting the way in the midst of the world’s darkness.
 Howie Batson, Jesus, Our Hope of Resurrection” (sermon, First Baptist Church, Amarillo Texas, February 29, 2012).
Dena Dyer is an accomplished and acclaimed author of several books, including Mothers of the Bible, The Groovy Chicks’ Road Trip to Love, and The Groovy Chicks’ Road Trip to Peace. She has been a member of the Fellowship of Christian Writers, the Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Women’s Council. Her resume includes professional author and speaker, professional entertainer, music instructor, missionary, and children’s theater instructor. Dena and her husband are parents to Jordan and Jackson and live in Granbury, Texas. Visit Dena’s blog at www.DenaDyer.com