After the death of a loved one, it is common for kids to pull away from God because they think He doesn’t care about them. They reason that if He cared, He would have prevented the death; answered their prayers; stopped the pain; spared them the gut-wrenching, life-altering loss.
Ugh. This is as real as it gets.
Grieving kids are desperate to know that God sees them, feels what they feel, sheds every tear they do, believes with them that death is terrible, and is willing to do something to make everything better.
In the John 11 account of Lazarus’s death and resurrection, we see a moving example of Jesus’ heart for us. Jesus cried over His friend Lazarus’s death.
33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?”
They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
Jesus cried because He felt the deep pain death causes; He cried because He was so sorry that His friends—Mary, Martha, and the crowd gathered—were suffering. He cried even though He knew His Father would enable Him to raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus feels and bemoans our moment-to-moment, here-and-now sufferings because He cares so much about us.
But the account of Lazarus is about more than Jesus’ empathy. It’s also a demonstration of God’s solution to the sorrow death causes: resurrection.
We see in Lazarus’s resurrection that God is more powerful than death. Jesus was able to simply call Lazarus’s name, and Lazarus, as if only asleep, woke up again to life on Earth.
This miracle also foreshadows what death, resurrection, and eternal life will look like for all of us (see 1 Corinthians 15:22). Is God able to make us alive, even if we die? Absolutely. When we die, Jesus will call our names, and we will wake up from death and follow Him (see 1 Corinthians 15:20). Knowing this will give your grieving child great comfort.
If we ever doubt that God cares for us, we need look no further than the cross. Jesus, who cries with us, also died for us to give us life that will last forever. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).
No one loves us like Jesus does; no one cares for us more than He does. Grieving kids need you to tell them, “Yes! God sees you. Yes! He feels what you feel. Yes! He sheds every tear you do. Yes! He thinks death is terrible. And yes! He has done something to make it all better.”
For grief resources to help your hurting child, click here.