Better late than….on time?

“Thanks for coming.” That’s what the high school student said to me today when I went to her dad’s funeral. It was poignant in so many ways: her gracious composure, well beyond her years, in the face of a terrible, sudden tragedy. And at Christmastime no less.

It made me think of someone I know who showed up to a funeral too. But in this case, when the sister of the deceased saw him, she greeted him with “You’re late.” Too late, in fact. For some reason she thought this guest would have been able to prevent this outcome. She even went so far as to say “If you had come, my brother would not have died.” To make matters worse, by all appearances, it seemed like he didn’t show up on time on purpose.

The sister is of course Martha, the family friend is Jesus, and the story is recorded in a gospel writing of the Bible.* It’s so raw in the emotions that are expressed that you forget it is 2,000 years old. It’s the story where Jesus actually says those famous words that were quoted at the funeral service I went to today: “I am the resurrection and the life.” Those are great words, but honestly, sometimes, you just wish he had shown up on time and prevented the whole unraveling in the first place.

The son at today’s funeral said something that I will remember for a long time. In telling a story about his dad, he said, “I trusted him for one reason. He was my dad.”

I’m trying to do the same thing tonight: trusting that Jesus really, really is all he says he is.

*read the whole story in John 11: 1-44

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