Everyone knows where they were and what they were doing on September 11, 2001 when the planes hit the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in DC, and the plane crashed in Pennsylvania. It was a Tuesday morning and I was seeing patients at the Independence Family Health Center of Cleveland Clinic. When the first plane hit, we thought it was an accident. By the time, the second plane hit, we all knew different and we immediately recognized the magnitude of the incident. This day would always a special place in American history. Roughly three thousand (3000) people died in those attacks (2,606 in the World Trade Center, 265 within the airplanes, and 125 at the Pentagon). The country mourned and everything changed in a moment.
The WORLD is living through a pandemic related to the Coronavirus (COVID19) right now. There have been nearly 2 million infected and more than 110 thousand deaths in the United States alone. Now imagine if we were to endure an attack like that on 9/11/2001 for 35 days in a row because that is what has happened. The loss of life, jobs, security, liberties, gatherings, celebrations, and so much more have impacted people across the entire country.
My best friend became infected with COVID19 after contact with an infected family member (a dedicated registered nurse). As a result of the infection, she suffered several complications including pneumonia. We prayed fervently for her and held to our hope in the Lord that she would not succumb to her condition. We walked through many dark days before she got on the road to recovery. I will never forget how I felt in those days.
I am 56 years old and there are only two (2) people that I have ever called best friend in my entire life. While one of them was fighting for her life because of her complicated infection with the coronavirus, I could not even consider the loss of her life without welling up with tears. Some days that happened several times throughout the day. I know what the Bible says, and I did not question God or my faith, but I have spent a lot of time mourning the loss of so many people. I do not know them all, but Jesus does. Each of them is someone’s son, daughter, wife, husband, brother, sister, or friend.
Then I recalled the shortest verse in the Bible.
Jesus, the Son of God.
Jesus, fully divine and fully human.
Jesus wept over the death of his friend Lazarus though he knew that Lazarus would die before it happened. He knew that Lazarus would be brought back to life. He knew there was life before creation. He knew there was life after death. He intimately knew HIM who had the power of life and death. Yet, he still cried. More accurately, he did not just shed a tear, but he wept.
Why shouldn’t I cry? Lament is appropriate. After all, more than 110,000 Americans have died from coronavirus infection and the country is wrestling with the unjust loss of African American lives that marred American history for centuries. Life is precious. Jesus cares about people. He relates to our pain, our loss, our feelings, and our condition in this life. We live in a fallen world. There is so much pain and suffering around us. Do not allow yourself to ignore it. Do not allow yourself to minimize it.
Jesus is weeping. Why shouldn’t I?