Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tears

I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto God: Man shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. ~ Psalm 40:1-3

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. ~ Psalm 56:8

We emerge from our mother's womb and enter this world crying. We will exit this world and loved ones will file before our casket crying. In between our arrival and departure countless more tears will slide down our cheeks. Yes, there will be tears of joy, wonderfully happy and sentimental times when we will laugh until we cry. But compared to the streams evoked by sadness that will surge up from our hearts and out through our eyes they will be but a drop in the bucket.

Scripture tells us that God collects all our tears in His bottle and records each one in His book. Just as a mother knows why her little one is crying, so too, God surely distinguishes between the tears caused by the loss of a parent and the loss of a pet. Between a heart broken and a heart rejoicing. Between those caused by peeling an onion and those caused when layers of your soul have been savagely peeled back.

Stop for a moment and think about the times those salty veins of water have breached the tiny dams at the edges of your eyes and fallen onto your lap, or have left a snowfield of white tissues on your bed or kitchen table.

David has journaled a particular kind of meltdown. Of all the tears he/we shed, these speak to a most important event that binds us to God and changes our life like no other. For each of us the catalyst prompting the release of guttural groans and the unstoppable floods may be different. Describing such a moment is difficult. But at the core the reason is exactly the same: we have come to the end of ourselves. We can't "pick ourselves up by the bootstraps." A crisis of such magnitude is swallowing us alive, and neither friends nor material resources can bring relief. God alone is our hope. I am talking about crying out to God to save us at the soul level.

As painful as it is, we are never in a better place than when such a great awakening arrives. It's that God-moment when we cast all our cares and outcome on an unexplainable belief that God is listening. We know God is near. We believe God will lift us out of our horrible pit and the miry clay. We bet the house on Him.

From that moment our lives are changed. Faith is born. There will be more tears, but they will be shed as we stand on the rock-solidness and growing confidence in the One who delivered us. Our journey will be more treacherous than ever before, but though our eyes are still dimmed by tears we will never see more clearly. A new perspective will help us see that God is working in our successes and failures and through them actually establishing our goings. There will be melancholy songs, but the great Conductor will be rearranging the somber minor keys turning them into hymns of praise.

The best part…

Time will be the test and friend of this Truth. Our watching world will take notice, because theirs is a tearful sojourn too. Hurting and broken people surround us. It may take years before onlookers can translate our transformation. It may be when they walk by our casket. Unfortunately some may never come to the end of themselves. But some will…and they, too, shall trust in the LORD.

He washed my eyes with tears that I might see,
The broken heart I had was good for me;

He tore it all apart and looked inside,
He found it full of fear and foolish pride. 

He swept away the things that made me blind
And then I saw the clouds were silver lined;

And now I understand 'twas best for me. 
He washed my eyes with tears that I might see…

~ Ira Stanphil

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