Words of Divine Comfort, Octavius Winslow—1872
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” John 11:23
We have lately been with Jesus in the chamber of sickness and of death; let us now accompany Him to the house of mourning. He was equally Himself in both. His loving, sympathizing heart was at home in every place where suffering and woe found a lodgment. He Himself had passed through this school. And well He had learned its lessons, emerging from its teaching and discipline in all respects fitted for, and in all points assimilated to, His peoples’ trying and afflictive circumstances. Oh, wondrous truth! oh, marvelous love! Must the divine Son of God, must the sinless Son of man be perfected by suffering, that He might suffer when I suffer, weep when I weep, bear the heaviest end of my cross, and in all my afflictions be Himself, by sympathy and support, afflicted? So I read, and so I believe.
You are a bereaved one–the Lord’s bereaved! Himself has done it. Arise, oh my soul, from second and proximate causes. With them you have nothing to do. Like pieces of wreck floating on the surging waves, they will but wound and bruise you, and, perhaps, loosen your hold of faith on the Divine and faithful plank to which you are clinging, and which will assuredly bear you up, and float you in safety to the shore. Every view of your bereavement which draws your eye away from Jesus will but lacerate and inflame your wound. Looking above, seeing Jesus only, recognizing God’s hand in your calamity, and referring it all to His infinite wisdom, perfect righteousness, and unchanging love, will enable you to bow meekly in your sorrow, and with your mouth in the dust, exclaim, in lowly imitation of your Lord, “My Father, if this cup may not pass from me except I drink it, Your will be done.”
Yes, beloved, your brother shall rise again. Did he not die in the faith of Jesus? Did he not depart in the hope of glory? Then, that faith has saved him, and that hope sheds a halo around his grave. He shall rise even now, for the memory and the influence of his holy life and love still live in undecaying power and fragrance; and, “he, being dead, yet speaks.” But he shall rise again in the resurrection of the just at the last day, when, at the Second Resurrection, the trumpet of Christ, the Archangel shall sound, and the “dead in Christ shall rise first.” Oh, the glory and the bliss of that moment, when the ruined temple of the Holy Spirit shall spring from the dust, a spiritual body, freed from all the taint of sin, the grossness of the flesh, the sorrows and sufferings of earth, resplendent in beauty, perfected in holiness, “fashioned like unto Christ’s glorious body.” And, until my body shall be committed to the dust in the faith of Him who is “the Resurrection and the Life,” may I live and die, dear Lord, to You, and, then, be with You forever!
Jesus is one with you in your bereaved grief. He is in your house of mourning now. He goes with you to the grave to weep there. Spiritual blessings will bloom around that grave, sweeter and more beautiful far than the flowers with which you deck it, if your sorrow draws you closer to Christ, making you better acquainted with Him, the weeping and sympathizing Savior, and loving Friend and Brother, born for this crushing adversity