For those who are fans of the NFL, you may know that some teams script their first 15 offensive plays. This means, regardless of the situations and circumstances, they are going to run the ones they’ve designed and called. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Having a plan and running with it regardless of external circumstances can be a good thing, but it can also have its downside. One area where it doesn’t work to have a rigid plan is when dealing with grief, and no one teaches us this better than Jesus.

As the Lord approaches the two women In John 11, He encounters two very different personalities and approaches to grief (this is because we grieve in ways that are consistent with our personalities). Martha seems to be very much a woman of action. She wants a result: the resurrection of Lazarus. So she goes to Jesus with a request. And the Lord meets her in her grief with a promise (v. 23, “Your brother will rise again.”) What Martha needed was a word. Jesus gave that to her.

But then there’s Mary. She didn’t go with Martha. She stayed back at the house until Martha went and got her and brought her to Him. And immediately upon seeing Him, she breaks down in tears. What is Jesus’ response? No words. No promises. Instead, He grieves with her. While Martha needed a word, Mary needed a touch. And Jesus knew that. And Jesus did not have the first 15 plays of how to deal with grief scripted out. Don’t you love that about Him?

We will all deal with grief in life. It’s inevitable. The encouraging thing here is that Jesus will meet us where we are with what we need. The challenging thing here is that we should be thinking about the same kinds of things as we encounter friends and family in their grief. Figuring out what people need, and then being there for them, is the way of the Master.

Scott Smith
Care Pastor

Subscribe to the Daily Fill