When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” (John 11:33-36 NIV)
There are number of reasons why people cry–creating pools of sorrow or joy–when we weep, but sometimes, we could avoid the sodden cheeks and salty trails if we would just obey. There is a reason for everything that occurs in our lives–some things we can control–others we can’t. Even though Jesus wept when He realized Lazarus had died, His tears were not just out of sadness, but out of realization that some things must happen, in order for others to get right with God.
The moment the criticizing, waffling Jewish leaders saw Him weep, they were amazed at how much He must have loved Lazarus, but then they started bickering, “If He is so great, why didn’t He save Him,” they started murmuring. They didn’t understand what was about to happen, but Jesus knew, Lazarus’ death was for such a time as it occurred, so God would be glorified.
There are many people weeping today. They are weeping over the loss of children who are dead before they had a chance to explore life and live. They are weeping over the senseless acts of violence that destroy lives–the victim’s and the perpetrator’s–and all the families involved. They are weeping over the mistreatment and abuse of others at the hands of zealots who don’t know God, but claim their actions are directed by God. And they are right–the god of this world–Satan directs the destruction of lives, hoping to see humanity cease to exist. People are weeping over negligent governments who because of their greed and corrupt spirits are destroying the lives of people on all levels, but especially the aged and vulnerable.
Some weep with bitterness and regret over lost opportunities or poor choices that leave them with no hope, frustrated and angry. And these are those whose lives are ruined, set out to destroy the lives of others, not understanding their choices are what put them where they are.
Then there are those who weep with joy with the birth of new family member, a promotion of a job, a hard-earned accomplishment, a bride’s beauty, the beauty of a moment, or seeing a soul saved and lives transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When we weep at funerals or home-goings of those we cherish, sometimes it is for us, in our self-pity, and sometimes it is genuine feeling of loss for those we won’t have a chance to serve again. There is a belief among some that we should rejoice when people die and cry when they are born. For those who understand the trials and challenges of living–this is true. For those who don’t–they haven’t lived long enough to understand it.
When God looks upon us–is He smiling or weeping? I can imagine with the condition of the world today, He’s probably saddened by the corruption, greed and waywardness of those who deliberately choose to live in opposition to His Word. But for the remnant–the few who will do everything they can to please Him, He’s smiling–rejoicing in His children’s obedience to Him.
Now–look inwardly, not at others and determine if God is smiling over what we do or if He is crying and why.