Here’s a bit of trivia to wow your friends: The shortest verse in the whole Bible is John 11:35, “Jesus wept”.
It may be a short verse, but it is full of meaning. In religious traditions from all times and from all over the world, God is always apart, detached, ‘up there’, super-human, and immune to human frailties such as weeping and sadness and loss. But, in the Christian faith, Jesus IS God ‘with us’ ‘among us’ ‘in the world’ ‘in human form’.
During a story in which the whole question is: God, why didn’t you heal the person you claimed to love (Lazarus), we are acquainted with a God who lives, feels, and weeps like us. Even though this doesn’t necessarily answer the question ‘why’, it does let us know that, far from being ‘up up and away’ God is present with us in all the trials and grief we face.
There are many folks out there who have given up on the faith because they are angry at God for what God didn’t do (a healing, an answered prayer) and what God didn’t do caused good people to suffer terribly. The story in John 11 is an invitation from God, I think, to give faith another chance… because God’s answers to our deepest grief is still coming.
Until then we weep… and he weeps.