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A friend who stands where we stand, who weeps with our tears
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
‘Where have you laid him’ He asked.
‘Come and see, Lord’ they replied.
Jesus wept. John 11:33 -35
I love this passage because it reveals the depths of Jesus’ love for us, a glimpse of what it means to be His friend. Some friendships are superficial; you’ll do fun things together and share laughs and jokes. You may have similar lifestyles and chat about things like your husbands, children or jobs, but never go any deeper. But the friendships where you can be real and express your hurts, fears, joy or sorrow and know you will still be accepted go beyond all others. They are the friendships that make you feel warm inside, knowing that whatever happens you can face it, because you have a friend alongside you.
Sharing your friend’s pain or joy is the heart of true friendship. Empathising with what they feel, understanding and caring. Recently I was with a friend who is depressed. I love her dearly. I could feel her pain in the time we spent together and I still can. I feel a deep sadness for her and a longing that she knows peace. When someone you love is down then a part of you is down with them, not because you are also depressed but because you are bonded to them and love them. You are feeling their pain even while knowing joy in your own life.
That kind of bonded friendship is what Jesus displays in His encounter with Mary when she’s devastated by the loss of her brother Lazarus. He sees and feels her grief and that of all her friends. His heart aches as He identifies with their pain, so much so that He weeps. He knows the miracle He is about to perform, that their sorrow will be turned to joy, yet the greatest miracle is the loving, true friendship He gives them and all of us. The friendship that says ‘I am here standing with you my dear friend. I know all that you are feeling and I feel it too. I weep with your tears. I suffer with your pain. I dance with your joy. I am at one with you and I will never leave you or forsake you. Open your eyes and see my love for you, receive my promise of hope, and be at peace.’
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