Fellow under-shepherd, I’ve searched for the right words for days and then I opened the Friday Fragments blog, below, by Dan Wolgemuth, President Emeritus and Trustee Emeritus with Youth for Christ USA. His Plan for My Tears says it all. Perfectly. Heart-wrenchingly. With faith. I pray you’ll take a few minutes to read, ponder, and maybe even shed a tear. Not with desperation, but with gratitude. With everlasting hope. With thanksgiving for the God we know, love, and serve. And may it spur you on to live deeply into our calling this week…
His Plan For My Tears
By Dan Wolgemuth
Buffalo. Mariupol. And now… Uvalde.
The pain. The sorrow. The uncontained evil.
An 18-year-old with toxic racial hatred.
A 69-year-old with tanks and an army.
Another 18-year-old with the means to kill.
Tears… Unimaginable grief.
You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8, ESV)
These incredible words from King David are an invitation into authenticity. David’s pain is real. He’s lost in the agony of defeat. His hope has taken a blow. He’s reeling. Much like communities across our country and cities around the world.
Eugene Peterson puts it this way in The Message:
You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn
through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in your ledger,
each ache written in your book.
Sleepless nights. Each ache recorded.
Faith in God does not insulate us from pain. In fact, we’re told that the very tears we cry have been stored in a bottle… but this bottle contains more than just my tears.
Our tears have company, companionship… and amazingly, not just with other saints, but with the tears of Jesus.
Jesus wept. (John 11:35)
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, (Luke 19:41)
Not a polite sniffle, He wept. Over personal loss. Over the grief of His treasured friends. Over the brokenness and systemic evil of a city He loved.
Real tears. Real lament.
Notice Jesus doesn’t say… “suck it up”, “get over it”, “it’s not that bad”, “it will all work out”…
No, He weeps. And over the very things that His faithful ones should weep about. Like Buffalo. Like Mariupol. Like Uvalde. Like…
The Apostle Paul’s instruction to followers of Jesus is this…
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. (Romans 12:14-15)
Harmony. Music with our grief. Our tears in a choir. With Jesus.
When we weep… when the tears come… it is the hand of Jesus holding the bottle. He welcomes our tears. He greets them with His own.
Our pain is not a solo journey. Our grief is not in isolation.
There is a bottle… with tears. Tears from Texas. Tears from Ukraine. Tears from New York. My tears. Your tears. And yes, the tears of our Savior.
Hope does not dismiss the tears, it collects them. It invests them. It embraces the reality of a broken world, and a Gospel of grace.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; (Isaiah 53:3)
Emmanuel. God with us. Jesus. The collector of our tears. Until that day. The day…
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Come Lord Jesus, come.