Within the last few months, both of my remaining living grandparents past away. They had both lived long lives, and had served Jesus in faithful and even sacrificial ways. Of course we celebrated their lives, but at the funerals, I still felt deep grief. I wished I could have spoken to them one more time, or just spent more time with them in general.
When I first read the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, I was jealous of those who witnessed that amazing event. Could you imagine? It would have been as if at the end of funeral, the person in the casket came back to life. Certainly it was what Mary and Martha had hoped for deep down. Before they had asked him to heal Lazarus, yet Jesus never came. They had seen Jesus heal people time and again, why couldn't he do it now? They had personally experienced power of Jesus and had no doubts, yet their brother still died.
Knowing the end of the story can make it seem less miraculous. Jesus was up to something bigger than just the healing of Lazarus, he was ready to demonstrate his power over even death. He had to let them go through the grief that was natural in order to do something bigger than what they could imagine.
Recently I heard Father Brian McDermot speaking about Jesus and in his talk he said something that blew my mind. It was something so simple yet something I had never considered. He said every one of the miracles of Jesus was temporary. Every healing he did was a temporary fix. Every person Jesus healed eventually died. Even Lazarus died...again. This time however, he stayed in the tomb.
Jesus intention in his ministry was not to stop all suffering, it wasn't to keep his followers immune from the pain of this world, it was rather to remind them that he truly was more powerful than anything, even death. He demonstrated his power on several occasions, and in doing such he was foreshadowing a place beyond this world, a time beyond time, when all suffering will cease and he will wipe away every tear, but we aren't there yet.
As much as I wished I had another conversation with those I've lost, I know I would always wish for one more. If Jesus had raised the one I loved, I would have been thrilled, but just as heartbroken when inevitably, they faced the pain of this world once again.
Jesus doesn't take away all our pain, make everything make sense, or even heal every disease we ask him to. Jesus simply reminds us that "in this world we will have trouble, but to take heart, because he overcame this world" (John 16:33).