Thursday, May 25, 2017

Every Tear

I'm not sure when or why we all began to believe that needing help is a sign of weakness. Truthfully it isn't even logical because everyone needs help at some point. I'm also not sure when we decided we needed to pretend that everything is okay. I'd like to say we can blame that on social media, but most people I know, myself included, have been doing that way before facebook, instagram, and twitter came along. And I definitely don't know why we think it's okay to minimize someone else's pain, struggle, heartache, or difficulty in comparison to our circumstances or the world's.  That just isn't healthy in any way, shape, or form.

I remember hearing my grandmother say, "God helps those who help themselves." It sounds so Biblical but I can promise you it isn't in the Bible. In fact, quite the opposite is what's Biblical. God wants us to come to Him with our circumstances and ask for help. And to be honest, leaving Him out of the equation is pretty insulting to His ability and desire to care for us.

As I've been going through Psalms and Proverbs in my reading plan, it has become quite evident that it really is okay to lay it all out for God to handle. No, He doesn't want us to whine and complain about it, but He does want us to trust Him with our fears, worries, anxieties, stresses, and overwhelming circumstances. Many might argue that He already knows, but I think there is something freeing in saying it, acknowledging it, and admitting we need help.

This morning in Psalm 10 I read God's response to extreme distress. It kind of shocked me because it's so not what we do with each other. Most of us, again myself included, have a natural inclination to offer advice, suggestions, and solutions. And while God's Word does give us those things, His immediate response to our problems is different than I had anticipated.

Verse 14 tells us that God sees the trouble of the afflicted, considers their grief, and takes it in hand. Ok. He acknowledges it, thinks about it, and takes it. Sounds good to me. But verse 17 takes it even further. It tells us that He hears the desires of the afflicted, encourages the afflicted, and then listens to their cry. Enter all dropping jaws.

So, instead of listening to our cries and then giving us words of encouragement, He gives us words of encouragement and then listens to our cries.

Clearly this isn't the normal order of things. We tend to listen to each other and hold hands when a loved one is distraught and then we offer helpful reminders. But not God. He gives the helpful reminders first and then lets us cry it out.

For the girl who has been tearless for a really long time, this is incredibly good news. Why? Because it lets me know that even after He tells me that He's got it all under control, He knows my emotions are not going to follow that quickly, I'm still going to need to let it out, and that He isn't going to tell me there's no need for tears. And truthfully, that makes sense. Because we know from Revelation 21:4 that He will wipe every tear from their eye. Do you notice what that doesn't say? It doesn't say He'll tell you that you can stop crying, that there's no need to cry, or that you shouldn't be crying. He's going to wait until you get it all out and wipe each tear away as it drops. #Awesome

There have been so many times recently that I have been on the verge of tears. They still haven't come. Sometimes I get a little frightened to think of what might make them spill out. But right now, the most beautiful and comforting thought, is that God isn't going to ask me to stop until I'm ready to stop and He's going to listen to every last bit of it. My guess is with a reassuring smile that lets me know I finally made it back home from the desert I've been in all this time. #AreWeThereYet?

I don't know the last time you cried, or what will make you cry the next time you do, but I pray that you find comfort in knowing that God is willing to sit with you while each and every tear streams down to water all the seeds of encouragment He would have just given you. And then someday you'll see the sprouts of new life growing up and reap a harvest meant to be shared on His behalf. And that just might make you cry again.

Father, Your Word is breathing life back into me in exponential ways. I have no idea what You are up to, but I know it's good. I pray that any time we feel the tears coming we remember that You are there to hear each one fall and to remind us that not a single one will be wasted. Thank you for loving us in such a profound way that consistently shows the compassion You have for us. We love you. Amen.

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