Life can be unfair, painful, and uncertain. When we or our loved ones find ourselves in those times of grief or frustration, we can rely on the Savior and his perfect example of empathy.
In his BYU devotional, “Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Making Room for Struggle as Well as Faith,” Eric D. Huntsman recounts the story of Lazarus’s death, the subsequent despair of Lazarus’s sisters, and the miracle performed by Jesus (see John 11). After receiving word of Lazarus’s death, Jesus is met first by Lazarus’s sister Martha. Jesus asks her about her faith in his teachings. Jesus is next met by Mary, Lazarus’s other sister, who runs out to meet him. She collapses, sobbing at Jesus’s feet, grieving the fact that he did not arrive in time to save her brother.
Dr. Huntsman observes that this story illustrates Christ’s ability to personalize his response to each person. When Martha ran out to meet Jesus, he asked about her faith in his teachings. In contrast, after Mary grieved Jesus’s lateness, his response is captured in one of the simplest, shortest, and most beautiful verses in scripture: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Jesus knew that Mary needed someone to grieve with her and to participate in her pain. In this stunning story, we see a miracle almost as powerful as Christ’s later resurrection of Lazarus: his ability to discern and meet the needs of others. Martha and Mary need different types of support, and Christ is able to perfectly offer that unique balm to each of them.
By following Christ’s example, we can develop a deeper sense of empathy and kindness for those around us. As Dr. Huntsman points out, “We may not always understand the struggles of others or know how to help. But we can always love them.”
We will never truly understand the pain that others go through. We may not even fully understand our own. But in our times of darkness, we can turn to Christ and his perfect example of love. We can trust in his ability to meet us where we are, and we can learn from his example and support each other. As Dr. Huntsman says, “Before we reach…mornings of rejoicing, we must help each other through nights of struggle. We need to love one another as Jesus loves us!”
Source: BYU Speeches
—Karly Lay, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY GABRIELA PALAI
Find more insights
To learn more about holding on through difficult times, read Joseph B. Wirthlin’s talk “Sunday Will Come.”
To read about one woman’s experience with grief and reliance on the Savior, take a look at Rachel Peterson’s article “When Acquainted with Grief.”