If You Don’t Know When the Heartache Will End

by Lynn Cowell June 6, 2023
“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” John 11:33 (NIV)

My glazed-over eyes gazed out the window, but I wasn’t really seeing anything at all. The scene far below was simply a spot for my vision to land on as my mind meandered. What will happen next? I wondered as we ended week three of our loved one’s hospital stay.

I knew Jesus loved me, and I was certain of His love for my family member too. But we were weary after so many days of uncertainty; sadness wrapped us in the chill of the hospital.

When will the heartache end?

In John 11, Jesus was on the move. Not to visit a cold hospital room but to visit some dear friends who were also experiencing brokenness due to illness.

The sickness of Mary and Martha’s beloved brother Lazarus had delivered death while the sisters waited for the Savior to come. But making His way to bring comfort to His loved ones, Jesus intended to bring more than His support. He was coming to show the sisters and “the Jews who had been with Mary in the house” (John 11:31, NIV) His love and His power as the Son of God.

As I read the entire story of Lazarus’ death, there is a particular piece that soothes my own hurting heart. Even though Jesus knew how this day would end, knew that He would raise Lazarus from the dead, He deeply felt the pain of His friends.

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (John 11:33).

“Then Jesus wept” (John 11:35, NLT).

Jesus didn’t just observe their grieving; He entered into it with them.

In my own season of heartache, just reading the words “Jesus wept” comforts me. He was with the sisters in Bethany, and He is with me — understanding the pain I am in right here, right now.

His Word confirms that not only does He comfort me now, but also there will come a day when “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4, NIV).

This story of Jesus and His friendship gives you and me a true picture of His heart. He was with His friends in their pain, and as surely as we are His beloved, He is with us as well.

Right now, I don’t know the full ending to my hospital story. Though I want to ask questions and wonder about the purpose of this suffering, I’m clinging to what I believe and know by faith. As Jesus said to His disciples in John 11:4, this sadness will work its way out and will ultimately be “for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (NIV).

Jesus, You were with Mary and Martha in their sadness, and You are with me in mine. Thank You! I trust You to work all of this out for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Powerful emotions are not just an adult thing; children experience them too. Today is the release day for Lynn Cowell’s newest book, Managing Your Emojis: 100 Devotions for Navigating Your Feelings. Co-authored with counselor Michelle Nietert, this resource for kids teaches them that God loves them no matter what they’re feeling, providing scriptures empowering them to manage their emotions. Order a copy here for the child you love.

If you would like to further study the unshakable confidence the sisters in Bethany developed, order Lynn’s Bible study Fearless Women of the Bible.

She Speaks 2023: A Conference for Christian Communicators is happening July 13-14, 2023, in Charlotte, NC, and online! Whether you want to launch a podcast, grow your social media, write a book or craft a message … you need to know how to take the next step. We've got the tools to help you actually do it. She Speaks 2023 gives you practical training and Bible-based teaching to communicate the message and story God has given you. Click here to register now.



Stop by Lynn’s blog to download this free resource, written alongside co-author and counselor Michelle Nietert: “How to Manage Emotions in Your Home.”


Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (NIV).

We saw in John 11:35 that Jesus wept when He experienced sorrow. The next time you feel heartache, remind yourself that God gave us crying as a means to help us feel better and release strong emotions.

Let your tears flow. If you are able, share your sad feelings and let yourself cry with a friend you trust so they can also be a means of God’s comfort to you. And in the comments, share how we can pray for you today.

© 2023 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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