Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
John 11: 35
“(Jesus) has been where we are, and He walks with us and weeps with us. And with your tears He can water the seeds of character planted by pain.”
Stephen Arterburn and
Thoughts for Consideration:
How does it make me feel to know that when I am weeping, Jesus is right beside me – weeping as well?
In what ways can I comfort the weeping people in my own life?
“A teardrop on earth summons the King of heaven.”
Charles R. Swindoll
“God has a bottle and a book for His (children’s) tears. What was sown as a tear will come up as a pearl.”
In my daily search for great thoughts, inspiring poetry and touching prayers which are included in the daily devotionals in Transformation Garden, I will inevitably come upon a quotation which is so appropriate and also has the added benefit that it is something I’ve never read before. Such is the quote above. While I’ve read through many pages of Matthew Henry’s commentary, these particular words just happen to include two items that interest me greatly: a bottle like container called a lachrymatory or in common language, a “tear-bottle.” And pearls, which are highly prized and very desired gemstones. Something I find extraordinarily beautiful.
Matthew Henry notes that God has a bottle for His children’s tears, most likely a reference to Psalm 56 written by David when he stated, “Thou tellest my wanderings: put Thou my tears into Thy bottle: are they not in Thy book” (Psalm 56: 8, K.J.V.) The link which Henry makes between our tears and pearls, which develop only after a lengthy and trying process is one I find so interesting. And there’s a lesson for us. We know that the rarest and most valuable pearls, which occur spontaneously in the wild, take a long time to form in the shells of certain “mollusks” such as oysters because “they develop as a defense mechanism against a potentially threatening irritant such as a parasite inside the shell, or an attack from outside that injures the mantle tissue. The mollusk creates a pearl sac to seal off the irritation. In fact, pearls are commonly viewed by scientists as a by-product of an adaptive immune system-like function.”
I don’t want you to get the idea that you entered Science Class 101 today. But tears and pearls can teach us that it is the heartaches we bear which produce our tears that often change you and me. We become something so beautiful on the inside. We might even seem like a pearl whose beauty is refined by time and hardship. This strikes me as a gift from My Father’s loving hand. And it brings to my remembrance some of the thoughts I shared in my book, When A Woman Meets Jesus. I’d like to share some of these ideas about tears in particular:
When my grandmother was twelve years old, her father, a marine engineer, left on a sailing trip one morning and never returned. Several months after the disappearance of the ship he was on, an empty life preserver was found floating in the Atlantic Ocean. For my grandmother, as well as all the other family members whose loved ones served aboard this vessel, it was a devastating loss.
As I grew older, there was one thing about my grandma I could never understand. She never cried. No matter how sad the event – even at funerals – grandma never shed a tear. One day at the age when you have more boldness than brains, I went into my grandma’s office where she was busy typing and I said with all my youthful bluntness, “Grandma, why don’t you ever cry?”
She looked at me and said, “Well, Dorothy, long ago when I was about your age and my father died, I found out that tears never fix anything.” I’ll never forget those words. I thought long and hard about what my grandma said for many years – even believing, myself, that shedding tears over anything was a waste of time.
One day, after a particularly hurtful end to a very painful relationship, I happened to be visiting Grandma. As we talked about the situation that to me was so traumatic, I began to cry. Not a little trickle of water. These weren’t small droplets on my cheeks. No, this was something unusual. I was crying huge crocodile tears. An unstoppable flood covered my face, and loud, wailing howls came out of my mouth. To my complete surprise, I looked up and saw tears rolling down the soft, wrinkled face of my dear grandmother.
Grandma took my hands and said, “Dearie, God has every one of your tears and mine in the bottle of his remembrance.” And this is when I found out where all my grandma’s tears were – held in loving hands in a beautiful place where God never forgets the pain that has crushed our dreams and broken our hearts.
This comforting thought took on a whole new meaning for me when I read Dr. Larry Dossey’s recent thought-provoking book, The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things. One chapter deals specifically with the healing power of tears. Dr. Dossey notes that throughout ancient history, it was a sign of love and caring to collect tears in “bottlelike containers called lachrymatories.”
But this isn’t all I learned. “Scientists have found that ‘tears contain more than thirty times the amount of manganese found in the blood. This suggests that tears may function to rid the body of certain toxins. Indeed, in seabirds such a cormorants and albatrosses, tear glands seem to serve this purpose; they are more powerful than the birds’ kidneys in ridding the body of toxic levels of salt.’”
Knowing what we do today about “tears,’ is it any wonder that when the Son of God came to earth and became “as one of us” that in doing so, He came as “One” who weeps as we weep.
I love the words penned by Mrs. Charles Cowman regarding the two-word verse found in John 11: 35 – “Jesus wept.”
“It is an affecting thing to see a great man in tears! ‘Jesus wept.’ It was ever His delight to tread in the footsteps of sorrow – to heal the broken-hearted – turning aside from His own path of suffering to ‘weep with those that weep.’ Son! Brother! Kinsman! Saviour! All in One! The majesty of the Godhead almost lost in the tenderness of the Friend. But so it was, and so it is. The heart of the now enthroned King beats responsive to the humblest of His sorrow-stricken people.”
How our hearts should be touched by the fact that as Jesus stood weeping at the grave of His dear friend Lazarus, He not only showed us the tenderness of His being but He showed us the great love of His Father who promises that He collects all our tears and that He turns our heartaches into beautiful “pearls” reflecting His glory.
But that’s not all! In the final act of cleansing the universe of the heartbreak caused by sin, our Father will personally wipe away all the tears from our eyes. He has promised! And He won’t call in someone else to heal what aches and causes us to weep. No! He Himself will do the job! He will “wipe every tear from our eyes.”
“What is the use of the man of Sorrows,
If you do not turn to Him in your need?
When your home is shadowed and your heart is breaking,
Then is the time to trust indeed;
He has never been known to fail in giving
The oil for the open sore,
And the Heart that wept with the lonely sisters
Is the same today and forevermore.”
“The Lamb in the center of the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to streams of life-giving water, and God will wipe all tears from their eyes.”
Revelation 7: 17
“And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”
Revelation 21: 23
“I dreamed a sweet and happy dream
About life’s troubled and swollen stream,
That emptied into the river broad,
Which flows very close to the throne of God.
I dreamed of the land of the fairer sky,
Where the old grow young, and never die;
Of the land of peace, and of sweet repose
And the just are saved from all their woes.
I dreamed that the weary left their cares
At the outer gate, where they ceased their prayers;
Heard the Master say: ’Let your burdens down
Where you drop your cross to receive your crown.’
I dreamed that I saw the small and great,
As they streamed in through the open gate,
And I saw and greeted my own again,
As the anthem swelled to the grand ‘Amen!’
I dreamed that we met by the river fair,
And breathed the healing, heavenly air,
And ate of the fruit of life’s fair tree
With the thrill and the peace of eternity…
I dreamed that the Saviour came to me
As we stood beholding the glassy sea,
And the city of light with its sparkling dome,
And He said; ‘My child, this is Home Sweet Home.’”
William J. Meredith
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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