The pain of knowing he would never be able to
watch his son grow up was palpable.
The juxtaposition of these two items Ė more than 95 years of life on
earth for one, and not even a single day outside his motherís womb
for the other Ė seemed strangely ironic. And unfair.
Then I made the mistake of turning on a morning news program. Tucked
beneath the daily (over)dose of political drama was a tragic item
detailing the apparent suicides of two teens who were both survivors
of a school shooting last year in Florida. It was reported that at
least one of them had been struggling with PTSD.
Though we will never know the whole picture, it seems that the
trauma of surviving the massacre became too great to live with.
Words escape me. Beyond heartbreaking. So unfair.
Every day we live with the reality of death, even if we do
everything possible to deny it. Like a spring storm, sometimes we
only hear its thunder in the distance. Occasionally, perhaps, the
lightning flashes. But sometimes we hear the sharp crack of a bolt
that strikes way too close for comfort. When death gets that close,
when itís no longer something we read about in the news, but has
struck someone we know and love and canít imagine not having in our
lives, our hearts recoil in shock, grief, and the unmistakable
feeling that itís just not fair.
That was the reaction of two sisters, Mary and Martha, who along
with their brother Lazarus had supported Jesusí ministry and
welcomed Him and His followers into their home. When the news came
to Jesus that Lazarus was very ill, He chose to do the seemingly
unthinkable. Though He had the power to heal him Jesus let Lazarus
die. When He finally arrived you could hear their accusing tones of
voice, ďJesus, why? Why didnít you come? Why did you let your friend
die? Itís so unfair!Ē
[to top of second column]
Of course, anyone who is familiar with the story
knows that Jesus didnít let Lazarus stay dead. He called him out of
the tomb, but not before reminding the sisters that He was truly the
resurrection and the source of life. And as they approached Lazarus
burial place, He wept.
Iíve often wondered why. Did Jesus weep because
Martha and Mary were struggling to believe? Because his friend had
suffered? Or were the tears not just for Lazarus, but for every
mourner through all of human history whose tears have soaked the
ground of their loved oneís grave? Were the Son of Godís tears His
way of sympathizing, saying, ďYes. I hurt with you. I hate the way
sin and death have wrecked my beautiful creation. It is not right.
It is not fair.Ē
But Jesus didnít stop at, ďGee, thatís too bad.Ē Because of our
rebellion against God (both humanity in general as well as our own
personal responses), we, sadly, deserve our death sentence.
According to Godís word it is just. It is fair.
Whatís not fair is that Jesus never rebelled. Never sinned. Never
retaliated. Never disobeyed. Never walked away. Never disrespected.
But He died anyway, cruelly and mercilessly, at our hands. The cross
is the ultimate portrait of the word Ďunfair.í
Thankfully thatís not quite the end of the story.
The sinless Son of God who died so innocently, but so violently, was
restored to life. Not like Lazarus who came back only to have to die
again someday. Jesus was raised, resurrected to eternal life. And
now anyone who gives their life to Him has been promised to someday
share that forever hope of a new body that wonít suffer age or
decay. How unfair that He should die so that we can now live in the
hope of the resurrection of the dead!
So, this Easter we thank you, Jesus, for being unfair!