Saturday, May 03, 2008

The gift of our tears

Today’s Reading: John 11:32-33 (NIV)

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

Good morning!

Jesus knew what it was like to be troubled in spirit. Have you ever been troubled in spirit? There are moments when the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart, and it is all I can do to hold the tears back. I’ve learned that my tears are a gracious gift from God. The tears we shed help us express inexpressible emotions we feel and cannot capture with words. Tears overwhelm us in times of extraordinary happiness or even in moments of deep sadness and regret. Tears fall as we cry out to God for help to feed, clothe, shelter, educate and provide medical care for our brothers and sisters around the world who are struggling for survival. Our tears are reflective of the prayers we pray each day, washing over us in waves of anguish and despair, mercy and grace. Like tidal waves running against the shoreline, washing away the footprints we left behind in the sand just moments before, our tears help us move beyond grief, so that we can see evermore clearly the path that is set before us.

We cannot be in the same room with someone who is grieving loss and not respond to that pain. One would have to have a heart of stone not to care about a brother or sister who is hurting. One of my pastors stopped to inquire about the health of my children during a ten-minute break at the 2008 United Methodist General Conference. As I spoke, I noticed the tears welling up in her eyes. The compassion she felt for my family was overwhelming to me. Without uttering a word, I knew she understood my heart. Tears are confirmation of shared empathy. Often times, our tears cry out the words we simply cannot.

Jesus knew when He arrived at Bethany that the Father would give Him the authority to raise Lazarus from the dead. Yet, the Lord was moved to tears by the shared grief of his friends. Jesus was troubled in spirit, even though He could see beyond the grief. He knew how this story would end, and yet, Jesus stopped to grieve with His people. Of all the passages of Scripture written about my Lord, this particular account brings me great personal comfort. It puts a real face on a real Savior. Our Lord understands what it means to be grieved and troubled in spirit. He cries with the brokenhearted and troubled ones. Only He can dry our tears and give us His direction for a future with hope. Offer yourself today to the One who personally understands what it means to grieve. Jesus cries with us as we cry out in love for one another, even as He knows how this story will end. We are so not alone.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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