If we believe him to be distant or disinterested, much less the source and cause of our pain to begin with, we are unlikely to ever seek his healing touch. In that case we are more likely to feel abandoned or betrayed, which becomes a source of anger and bitterness. But if we are able to believe that God is somehow mysteriously and wonderfully with us in the midst of our pain, it is a different story altogether. Then we are likely to have a deep sense of compassion from him and companionship with him. We are likely to realize that since he has experienced the depths of pain himself, he is wonderfully able to understand ours, and to truly be able to comfort us in the midst of it.
Thus, the season of Advent stands at the mysterious intersection of groaning and hope. When we stand with Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus, seeing his tears and hearing his groans, we are likely to see the tears in his eyes and hear the groans of his heart over our pain as well. And then we can rest assured that, even in the midst of our pain, we are both deeply known and deeply loved...and deeply understood. I don't know about you, but that gives birth to hope deep within me. Hope that I can, indeed, make it through this, whatever this may be. Hope that I am not alone to navigate it, but somehow more connected with him than I've ever been--more fertile to whatever he wants to plant within me and more receptive to the movement of his Spirit. Hope that somehow, someday I will be able to live again, not just surviving, but thriving because of the beauty he was able to bring out of my ashes. Now that's hope! Come, Lord Jesus!
"The purpose of Advent is to make us pregnant with hope." ~The Work of the People