When the world is harsh and unrelenting, there is a solemn comfort: "It is better to go to the house of mourning..."
Some chapters of life are torn from our hands even while we're reading them--portions unread, things unresolved--and we feel bereft of a better ending. Some chapters of life contain painful contents (ones which make us dig deep in faith and grow us in prayer).
These chapters, whatever they contain, often drive us to the house of mourning.
Lately, I have been meditating on this place, drawn to look into its windows for various reasons. And for all the peering, I wonder if it's a place to talk. A place to sleep. A place to live (for a time).
Jesus is such a sweet example of dwelling well in such a place.
When Lazarus' sisters felt the sting of loss, their tear-streaked statement poured to Jesus: "'Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.'" In response, Jesus didn't berate their bare-faced sorrow and anger.
He felt with them.
What a wordless statement of grace and understanding. Even though He had the power to raise Lazarus from the dead (and in fact did), Jesus took a mortal moment to sit with us in sorrow. What a gift.
As we look at His gift (opening it up and receiving its blessing) we can weep, too. It is okay to grieve. It is okay to cry. Even when suppressing the tears feels more acceptable. These moments give us a glimpse into eternity that little else provides. In them, we are reminded that the most important things are the things unseen. We are reminded that we do not mourn alone or without hope. We are reminded that our souls are programmed for eternity.
So, my Lord, we ask for peace in the house of mourning...and the joy of a chapter yet to come.