As I write I am looking out the window of my home, across a beautiful landscape. I enjoyed a good night’s rest in a comfortable bed. My cupboard is stocked with plenty, my bank account has enough for my needs and more. God has given me great kids whose lives are a delight to their Dad. I am surrounded by love and friends, and yet … in random moments the tears fall. Loss and death have come to me as they do to us all.
There are passages of Scripture that long ago seemed like beautiful poetry describing the experience of someone else, but now I read them as my prayers. “My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you.” (Psalm 42:3-6, NIV) With great hope I cry out, “Restore our fortunes, O LORD… Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” (Psalm 126:4-5, NIV)
No, what I know is not despair. I am filled with hope. But, I have felt deep sorrow, the ache of loss that is never far from my heart. I this I have come to know – Grief is not pointless! God can use it to shape us, to form the character of Christ in us, and to make us tender. I empathize with the pain of those with broken hearts far better than I did 20 years ago. My heart can feel the pain of those who are refugees, those who live with abuse, those who suffer.
This broken world is full of suffering. The Genesis story of the Fall reminds us that evil is real, not imagined. In Adam, all die! Sin lurks in the corners of our heart, causing us to act in ways that bring pain to others, sometimes even without our being conscious of the consequences of our choices. There is a Destroyer who schemes against the creation of God, who he hates.
But, I know that God sent His Son Jesus to save us- from our sins and from the destiny of destruction. In that salvation there is a wonderful, wonderful promise. Yes, when His kingdom comes, tears will dry. When the struggle’s over, God will draw us close and dry our tears! John heard the promise of God recording it for us in the Revelation: “I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 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.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:3-5, NIV)
Are you crying?
Is your heart broken?
Don’t rush about trying to hide from the pain in activity. Don’t try to numb your soul by turning up the music, buying more things you do not need, or burying yourself in pleasure. Those things are no balm for the soul. Instead, wait on God.
Let tears flow.
Accept the love of friend and family, even from those who repeat words that grate on you, even from those who have never hurt in the way that you do.
Pray for protection from cynicism that turns people into ugly, self-absorbed, and mean being!
Pray for healing, trusting God to turn your wound into a scar that is a reminder of His formation of grace in you.
Suffering can, if we allow it, make us into beautiful people; full of grace, tender, and with an other-worldly grip on eternity.
Gordon Jensen wrote a song with this memorable line, “God weeps along with man and takes him by the hand, tears are a language God understands.”
The word from the Word today is a prayer song, a Psalm of David.
“Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress.
My sight is blurred because of my tears.
My body and soul are withering away.
I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness.
Misery has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within.” (Psalm 31:9-10, NLT)
“But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!”
My future is in your hands.
Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.
Let your favor shine on your servant.
In your unfailing love, save me.” (Psalm 31:14-16, NLT) Amen
(Video of this blog at this link)
Often you’ve wondered why
Tears come into your eyes
And burdens seem to be
Much more than you can stand
But God is standing near
He sees your falling tears
Tears are a language God understands
When grief has left you low
It causes tears to flow
Things have not turned out
The way that you had planned
But God won’t forget you
His promises are true
Tears are a language God understands
God sees the tears
Of a broken hearted soul
He sees your tears
And hears them when they fall
God weeps along with man
And takes him by the hand
Tears are a language
Gordon Jensen © 1971 Jensen Music (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc., 741 Cool Springs Blvd., Franklin TN 37067)
CCLI License # 810055
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