“Martha said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died,” John 11:21, NLT.
Grief can steal your peace so quickly; it takes your breath away. I connect with Martha’s passionate words to Jesus when he showed up after her brother, Lazarus died. I felt some of the same things when my beloved younger brother, Brian, died a few months ago.
If only he had been diagnosed correctly and sooner.
If only the underlying stomach cancer had been diagnosed and treated.
If only the treatment protocols had worked.
You can make yourself crazy living in “if only.” And for a while, that’s what I did. Anger and grief tumbled over me in powerful waves. Beyond my immediate family, and my initial social media posts about Brian’s homegoing, I spoke little about what happened.
The agony of our last day on earth together.
The anguish of seeing the impact of his loss on his wife, children, and grandchildren.
I didn’t talk about any of it because I was afraid of the
ugly words that would tumble out if I tried.
Just like Martha, our family knows that Jesus heals and restores. We prayed for my brother’s earthly recovery. We believed for it. God chose to heal Brian in heaven instead. I understand some of what Martha felt when she approached Jesus that day. Despite her grief, Martha still expressed courageous faith in Christ, the Messiah. “But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask,” John 11:22.
Martha didn’t know that Jesus had authority over death and certainly didn’t know that Jesus would raise her brother from the dead. That’s not what she was saying here. Even in her deep grief and confusion about Jesus’ delay, she still affirmed that he was the promised Messiah, the son of God. She knew that he had intimate relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. She still trusted Jesus.
What can restore our peace in the turbulent seas of grief?
Remembering that Jesus is the Master of seas. Leaning into truth about him is where we find our peace again.
That he is a loving and perfect God who always, always does what is best for his children.
That he understands our pain and grief and is moved with compassion for us.
That he sent the Holy Spirit as a comforter.
That his ways are incomprehensibly higher than ours.
That he has gifted us with eternal life. Our devastating, earthly goodbyes are only temporary.
If grief has stolen your peace, I encourage you to take all that brokenness to the only One who can do anything about it. Be quiet with him and let him quiet your heart and restore your soul.
Prayer- Lord, thank you for caring so deeply for me that you willingly gave up your life for mine. Heal my broken heart. Fill the holes that death has carved into my soul with your love and presence. Let me comfort others as I have been comforted.