There are those who believe that the world has just witnessed the greatest human disaster in human history. By this I mean the recent tsunami that devastated Indochina. Currently the death toll lies somewhere around 150,000, but this will continue to rise as the more remote locations report their losses.


The images provided to us on TV were disturbing. Casual vacationers pointed their video cameras toward the sea just in time to record one of the walls of water crashing into buildings along the coastline.

Pictures of the aftermath were far more troubling; mounds of bodies, heaps of wreckage that certainly contain more victims, mothers in tears because they were unable to hold on to their infants who were washed away by the flood, and infants wailing for their mothers who were swept away.


In virtually every image; tears.


Tears are nothing new. Before there were drops of rain there were human tears. They are the defining reality of living in a death-impregnated, fallen world. The Bible says that even the world around us is groaning with the weight of the sorrow.


But can we be honest with each other? If not, then can we at least be honest with God? When I looked at the images from Indochina, though I let out more than one sincere groan, my eyes remained dry. I have not yet found it in me to weep in response to this ‘greatest of tragedies.’ I find it hard enough to find tears for my own little hurts, but for suffering on this magnitude…


Precisely at this point of my confusion and doubt and guilt, Jesus meets me, meets us. Through Him, both the omniscience of God and the frailty of man exist together. God knows of each and every human sorrow; from the child on some nameless, remote island calling out for her mother who was washed out to sea, to the homeless man living only a couple of miles from me who weeps for the children that slipped through his fingers due to some addiction.


As God, Jesus knows the depth of each of these bottomless pools of grief. As man, He is able to experience the grief bringing up, calling forth, and perhaps not even holding back; tears. Isaiah saw that He would be a Man of Sorrows. His contemporaries heard Him break into weeping more than once. Through the Incarnation, the tear that was poised in the eye of the world found expression as it coursed down the dark cheek of Jesus’ face.


Though there will always be that side of me that would rather not weep, would rather not “go there,” there is another side, a newer side, which longs to weep these sorts of redemptive, universal tears of and for the world. In the midst of all the confusion and pain, what seems abundantly clear to me is that only by looking to Jesus of Nazareth and walking with Him are we able to connect redemptively with the world’s sorrow. Because on the cross, He showed us how sorrow can save the world.


The Tears of the World

Lyrics by Michael Card

(From A Sacred Sorrow, NavPress, February 2005)

In any split second