LENTEN THOUGHTS - February 20, 2008


One of the most comforting verses in the Bible happens also to be the shortest verse in the Bible. When “Jesus wept” over the death of Lazarus, he was not contradicting his own message of hope; he was acknowledging that grieving is not only natural but expected, even for believers. The passing of my dear mother on February 3 was
not unexpected. The final chapter in her life of 85 years was determined several months ago when we learned she had inoperable cancer, complicated by Alzheimer’s and other underlying
health problems. I grieved, and am still grieving, but it took a comment from my wife, Ellen, to put the grief in the right perspective, and in that comment was a Lenten lesson.
Exactly one week to the hour after my mother died, I said to Ellen in my grief, “You know, last week at this time, Mama was living her last hour.” Ellen gently chided me by responding, “Don’t say she was living her last hour. You can’t think that way. She was one
hour away from heaven.” I needed that reminder. It came at just the right moment. “Jesus wept” is a Lenten message only when it is paired with Psalm 23, for in that psalm we are reminded that our loving God does not confine us to the “valley of death.” He walks with us
through the valley to emerge on the other side. God never promised to spare us from the valleys. We find ourselves in their depths and shadows throughout life as we confront our own crosses, large and small. What God did promise was that he would be with us always, that he has a plan for each of us and that through grace, we would
emerge from all that life throws at us victoriously.
– Jeryl Davis

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