At some point, each of us faces a difficult emotional breakdown. Whether it is a professional failure, a loss of a relationship, parents’ divorce, or the death of a loved one, we each experience human suffering that makes us vulnerable. These are the moments when we most need divine support.
Footprints in the sand
I remember the story of a man who had the opportunity to see all his life printed on sand. Looking carefully, he noticed that during his saddest and most difficult times, there was only one pair of steps on the sand. Confused and disappointed, he asked Jesus why He was not with him when he needed Him the most, when he felt so desperate and sad.
Martha and Mary probably had similar questions as they sat by their sick brother’s bed. Martha wiped his feverish forehead as Mary prayed for his recovery. Although they both devoted their days to taking care of him, his condition got worse and so the sisters sent a short message to Jesus saying, "Lord, behold, the one you love is sick" (John 11:3). However, the Savior didn’t seem to hurry to heal him, instead staying for two more days in the city he was visiting.
There was no need to receive any notice of his friend’s death. Jesus knew that Lazarus had died, for He said: "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up" (John 11:11).
Miracle beyond suffering
Why did Jesus delay so much before answering the desperate call for help? Didn’t He want Lazarus to be healthy and alive? Of course He loved him, but this miracle was not only for Lazarus and his sisters, but for all the people who still doubted His power. Through this miracle, Jesus would reveal His power and majesty to all those who were still doubting His divine status.
The most beautiful part of the story comes, however, in verse 35 (the shortest verse in the Bible) that says: "Jesus wept". Four days after Lazarus' burial, Jesus stands besides Martha and Mary and weeps together with them, shares their suffering, asks them to show Him the place where their brother is buried. Although He knew that their suffering would soon become joy, Jesus cried with the two women because He saw and felt their pain, because He was full of compassion and understanding, because He loved them.
Jesus is still weeping.
Jesus still cries with you when you face troubles, He knows your suffering better than anyone and gives you His compassionate and unconditional love. Pain is an inevitable part of our lives, but the encouragements we receive from Jesus make us stronger. If we humans, who are unquestionably evil, can offer comfort to others, imagine how much more God can give to everyone on this Earth. The most beautiful thing is that He has already found a solution to your problems and suffering.
The question of the man who saw his footprints in the sand didn’t remain unanswered. Looking at him with loving eyes, Jesus replied:
"My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."
Jill Morikone, Heartlift, Pacific Press, 2013.