A Deep Hole ( by Carley Evans )

Giorgio Vasari: An angel strengthens Jesus pra...

In Robert Redford’s film ORDINARY PEOPLE, the main character describes what it is like to be depressed to the point of suicidal. He speaks of falling into a deep, dark hole. Unable to climb out, eventually he becomes the hole. His eyes widen. The girl he speaks to of this darkness suddenly giggles, as she is incapable of understanding this darkness and she is embarrassed.

Jesus understands this darkness — this hole that He becomes on the cross. In the garden of Gethsemane, who witnesses Jesus’ prayer for deliverance from this coming blackness? Jesus prays for this deliverance because, of course, Jesus is not suicidal. But, who hears His prayer? Every one who enters the garden with Him sleeps while He prays alone. A major part of the deep hole is loneliness.

Perhaps Jesus tells His disciples after His resurrection of the mighty struggle He undergoes before He submits to the Father’s will. I can imagine Thomas giggling in embarrassment and disbelief. “Lord, how could You feel so low? How can You be lonely? You are the God of the universe!”

Jesus shows Thomas the wounds on His hands — “Yes, I Am who I say I Am.” But, not only that, Jesus’ wounds show Thomas that God suffers. God falls into a deep hole, becomes the hole, and emerges triumphant.


Jesus Has Compassion (by Carley Evans)

Jesus sees a widow crying over the death of her son. She barely has enough tears for this loss, having lost her husband. Now, she’s mourning the loss of her son, the only man in her life. She is preparing to live alone, unprotected in the town of Nain. Jesus tells her, “Don’t cry.” (Luke 7:13, HCSB) Then the Lord approaches to touch the open coffin being carried along by pallbearers. He looks at the young man, and commands him, “I tell you, get up!” (Luke 7:14) The widow’s son sits up and speaks. “And Jesus gives him to his mother.” (Luke 7:15)

Jesus has compassion on this widow. He may also have felt sadness for the young man, but His focus appears to be primarily on relieving the widow from her plight. She is overwhelmed with loss of love — the love of her spouse, the devotion of her child. The pain she bears moves Jesus to action. He touches the coffin and commands the dead to return to life.

Perhaps Jesus tells the young man in that small phrase, “I tell you” that He’s sorry to pull the young man back from paradise, that He’s sorry to ask the young man to return to earth so as to be a supportive son to his mother again. “Come back,” says Jesus. “You are needed here. Paradise and rest will wait.”

Father God, thank You for the gift of children — thank You that while we love them and give them all that we are capable of giving, they also give to us. Thank You for their love, their devotion, and their assistance as we, their parents, grow older and perhaps frail and in greater and greater need of them. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Jesus Weeps

Imagine — see in your mind’s eye — Jesus at the site of the burial of one of His best friends, Lazarus. Jesus is feeling the loss, and knows the pain of Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary. Fully human, Jesus’ emotions are torn. He’s waited several days since hearing of Lazarus’ death before coming to the grave. Now He stands beside Mary. She’s crying. The Jews who are there with her to support her are also crying. Everyone is weeping; Jesus also weeps with them.

Jesus allows Himself the human luxury of sadness, of grief. Yes, luxury. If you’ve ever needed to cry and found yourself unable to do so, you know what I mean by the ‘luxury of sadness, of grief.’ Jesus cries.

Jesus is also subject to the criticism of the friends of Lazarus. Some of them want to know why Jesus did not “keep this man from dying.” (John 11:37, ESV)

Of course, Jesus does the opposite — He allows His friend to die, then raises him from the dead, calling him forth from the grave. Then, Jesus, Lazarus, Mary and Martha celebrate. Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with an expensive ointment, wiping them with her hair. And, Jesus knows the joy of fellowship and friendship.

Lord God, our father and brother, thank You for friendship. Thank You for allowing us to serve You and one another in love, love capable of knowing both suffering and joy. In Jesus’ Name, amen.