A Day in the Life of a Pastor – Jesus Wept and So do I


“Jesus wept.” John 11:35

This verse has been on my mind lately.  One of the most “memorized” verses of all time, quoted by children and adults and it is working on my heart today.  The context is Jesus going to Lazarus’ tomb after he had been dead for days.  Comforting sisters, Mary and Martha, he is overcome by the emotion of the moment and begins to weep.  Strength, power, raw emotions, weakness, humility, frailty and humanity are words I have heard to describe this moment.  Today, another one comes to mind.  Real.

I was called to the hospital this week.  When you have known someone for twenty years and they ask you to come, you go.  I am sure there are some who are “great” at hospital visits – they have a scripture for every situation, the perfect words to say, the affirming look and touch of the arm to let them know it is going to be ok.  If you want that person to visit you, don’t call me.  I go into a hospital visit praying the whole time.  I am not sure what I am walking into, what to say, what to ask and when it comes to touching things, I use a lot of sanitizer. (I worked in a hospital in college – sanitizer is a good idea.)

This visit was “real.”  It was a tough situation with not a lot of answers.  There was pain and uncertainty.  But the moment I struggled with the most was when the granddaughter was leaving and kissed her grandfather on the cheek.  I was reminded of the opening verse – the emotion of the moment.  Yet, this little girl wasn’t upset; she was just so glad to be with her grandfather.  In fact, as others were leaving, she asked if she could stay.  I teared up in the corner of that room with no remorse.  She showed me the power of proximity, relationship and love. I left a few minutes later with tears in my eyes.  Real is good.

Emotions are important.  They should not be the foundation for our lives.  But they do serve a purpose.  They are like a “release valve” on a pressurized system.  When I use my one gallon sprayer, I fill it with the liquids and shut the lid.  Then, I pump, pump, pump a lot of air into the canister so I can spray the contents.  You are a pressurized system.  All of life’s challenges, requirements and expectations are on you every day.  They come from all places – people, jobs, tasks and yourself.  Emotions are how we “vent” out those pressures.  Sighs, tears, laughter, anger, remorse, grief, forgiveness and many others are so important in dealing with our daily lives.  The key is to find the healthy way to show these emotions so they are moving you forward.  And if you are wondering, they don’t show weakness.  Real is good.

Jesus was transparent enough to show his emotions…shouldn’t we?  Real is good.

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