by Alan Stewart
In the summer of 1994, Jeanne and I received the exciting news that we were expecting our first child. This was supposed to be one of the most wonderful experiences we would ever face in our marriage.
However, our joy was soon overtaken by deep hurt and disappointment. There is no way to describe the emptiness and loneliness we felt when the doctors gave us the devastating news that we had lost the child. A million questions ran through my mind, but there was no way I could vocalize what I felt. All I could do was cry. Although I never understood what was being said, my tears were speaking a language only discernable to the Spirit of God.
One of the most touching scenes in all of Scripture is depicted with the words, "Jesus wept." In spite of His power to reverse situations of His choosing, and the knowledge to see beyond the hurts, Jesus was known as a "Man of Sorrows." His life was characterized by tears. Tears have the ability to communicate what our lips cannot utter. Within our tears flow our pains and our disappointments. They drip with our joys and our love. When a baby enters the world, the first signs of life are the cries we hear. When a life exits this stage of existence, it is tears that memorialize our loss. Tears are not only a vital part of who we are, but they are a valuable gift from God.
Consider with me the worth of our tears:
Tears purify our soul. In Luke 22, the sound of a rooster's crow caused Peter to "weep bitterly." During his ministry with Jesus, Peter had ability and the anointing; but we do not read about tears. Have you ever observed the effects of a good rain? It removes impurities from the air, and also clarifies our sight. In this painful moment, his tears washed away, Peter was able see Jesus as he had never seen Him before. Sometimes it may take a devastating hurt to enable us to see past ourselves. One thing is certain: our tears form a rainbow over our wounded soul, signifying hope for a brighter tomorrow!
Tears keep us tender and teachable. In Mark 9, the father of a demon-possessed child is losing patience and growing hard in his faith until he "...said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." Here was a man whose tears softened the soil of his heart and kept his faith active and teachable. Our tears, like water to a garden, produce growth. When I read the 51st Psalm, I can understand what kept David tender and made him a man after God's own heart. It was his ability to cry!
The absence of tears exacts a quality from our lives that is difficult to retrieve. A lack of tears cost Pharaoh his firstborn and his army. Dry eyes cost Saul a kingdom. The psalmist had it right when he wrote in 126:5, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." Where there are tears, there is sure to be reaping and stability.
Tears present our sacrifice. In Luke 7, a woman-identified only as "a sinner"-stooped down before Jesus and proceeded to "...wash His feet with tears." Through that simple act, she found forgiveness and salvation. Why such reward for an act few even noticed? She gave the thing our Lord wanted most-her heart!
For most of us, tears come only when we are in utter distress. However, our Lord receives them as more precious than diamonds and pearls. Perhaps that is why David assures us in Psalm 56 that while the Lord keeps a record of our deeds, He also records our every tear!
When John was shown the new heaven and new earth, one of the first, and also one of the last, things he observed was that "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" (Rev. 7:17 and 21:4). God takes great delight in personally touching our tears.
The next time you find your heart broken or overwhelmed, just remember, it is our tears that capture His heart.
Alan Stewart pastors
Rechoboth Baptist Church
Soddy Daisy, TN
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