“Come and see,” Mary and Martha pushed out the words through sobs, leading their shaken up Rabbi to the cave into which their dear brother had been laid. Martha, practical in nature, hestitated at Christ’s commands to take away the stone sealing the dead from the living. “It’s been four days, Teacher. You don’t want to see him. It’s not the Laz you remember. The staggering smell of sickness and death will overwhelm you as it has us these past painful days.”
Studying John 11 this week knowing we have dear friends who have lost loved ones and received heavy diagnoses, the bravery and vulnerability of the simple phrase, “Come and see,” jumped out at me.
What faith it must have taken these sisters to invite the same Jesus who came too late, in their honest opinion, into their messy grief. What trust it displayed that they invited Jesus into their pulsing, palpable pain, this same One whom both sisters had said could have saved their brother had he been there.
Come and see how our hearts are aching and nearly bursting with waves of grief at the separation. He is right there, not twenty feet away, yet we cannot access him, we cannot laugh with him and cry with him. Come and see the impossibility of our situation; join us, we trust and love you, even though things did not turn out the way we so deeply desired. We want your presence even though we are confounded by confusion.
We all love the Psalms of Triumph that pulse with praise, and well we should.
Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!” So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you, they sing praises to your name. Come and see what God has done; he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. Psalm 66:1-5.
But we do not get to the joyful Come and see without the risking, vulnerable Come and see that invites Jesus into the desperately broken places in our lives and hearts. And the life that happens between the two phrases is often a long, arduous, undulating battle.
Jesus must be so honored by our trembling Come and See, inviting Him to tour our pain and brokenness. When we open unto Him the door to our terribly broken marriage or our dark past or our ongoing struggle with addiction in its minor and major forms, Jesus must smile a sober smile. For He who is outside of time knows the coming Come and See and can see us shouting in victory, even in that moment of vulnerability.
There will certainly be battles and scars and hope-deferred heart sickness between the two signposts, yet that initial Come and See begins the great work. The One we invite into our tombs and empty wombs is no mere man, He is the God-man, the Great Healer, the Captain of Salvation, the Mender of Mangled people, places and things.
Come and See
“Come and see,”such a brave little phrase,
Inviting God into grief on our darkest days.
To stay vulnerable when pain does wrench,
Bringing Him to tombs filled with stench.
The Maker of Life can handle grim facts.
Dark invitations precede healing acts.
Touring the truth in all its hideousness
Begins His healing with all fastidiousness.
A brighter invitation will come in due time,
The “Come and See” shouts of joy sublime.