Wm. E. Fain
Portland, Oregon 97202
What is it about John 11:35 that causes the reader to pause for a moment, and meditate in silence on the vastness of such a short statement? Surely he must realize this is the shortest verse in the New Testament yes, but what is behind it? Why did Jesus weep? Didn't He know that Lazarus was about to come forth from the grave at his command? Didn't He realize that, to the faithful, death is not a dread, but a release from the trials, and the realization of the hope of comfort in company with all the faithful? Yes, He realized all this, yet in His sympathy for others, and in His compassion for the frailties of us all, He wept because of the grief displayed by Mary. How blessed are we that we have a Mediator who fully understands us, a High Priest who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities! We have a Savior who has suffered grief for all the sins of mankind, who has known the greatest sorrow, experienced the most agonizing pain, and has felt a loneliness man need never feel. Surely He was not ashamed of the tears He shed openly at that hour; surely He is still touched by our sorrows; surely He still weeps with us. May we remember that He shed more than His tearsHe shed His precious blood, that we may have the blessed privilege of taking our thanksgivings, our problems, and our sorrows to Him.
Earlier this week, these thoughts came to me as I sadly participated in the funeral of Sister Luther Roberts, at Salem, Oregon. At her funeral, all were weeping, unashamed. No, the tears were not being shed so much for her, for her life had been full of activity in the Father's kingdom. Her life had been an example to alla life of study, of teaching, of training others. Many tears were shed for those many who loved her, and grieve because of what we have all lost because of her passing. Tears were shed for those who never had the privilege of knowing her. To know her was to respect and admire her. Tears were shed for the hours spent in their home that will never be quite the same again. Tears were shed for her mother, her son, her sister but most of all for her husband, with whom I have worked closely for seven years. How he must feel the weight of that loss, for with the passing years, Luther and Anna were drawn closer and closer to each otherand that's as it should be. Though I was just a "kid" when I first met them' and they were already among the best known and most highly respected in the church, they treated me as a friend Luther and Anna never looked "down" at anyone.
When Sister Roberts knew her illness was terminal, she carefully planned to the last. At her request, Brother Jim Rury preached the funeral. How wise her choice. Though Brother Rury has been very close to them for so long, and must have suffered more grief than most of those present, his words were the most appropriate I have heard for such an occasion. For a little while he wiped the tears from our eyeshe succeeded in making us forget the sorrow of the moment by forcing us to glimpse the hope of the glories God has promised to His faithful. And so we rejoice with Sister Roberts in the hope of her comfort; yet we weep with the family on their lossand the loss that we have all sustained in her passing.
TRUTH MAGAZINE X: 6, p. 16 March 1966