Monday, July 7, 2014
Fighting Back The Tears
I recently read the book, "The Circle Maker" by Mark Batterson. In one chapter, he describes the many inspirations for crying. Listen to his description of tears on page 210:
"There are the tears shed by the mother of a little boy in ICU who is far too young to fight leukemia, but he fights anyway. There are the tears shed by the father of the bride as he walks his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day. There are tears that stain divorce papers, and tears mixed with sweat that stream down the faces of grown men who have just won a national championship. Then there are the tears shed in prayer."
I haven't cried in a long time. Yet, I remember specific incidences where I literally buckled over in grief. In 1997, after my mother had fought pancreatic cancer for eight months, I knew she was close to death. I remember walking to my car to retrieve a few items and being overwhelmed with sorrow. I knew her condition had deteriorated. I even slept by her bedside that night and woke up frequently to check on her. She died the next morning a little after 7AM.
Fast forward to the summer of 2004. My oldest daughter Bethany was about to start college in Auburn and was attending a student orientation camp. I had a biopsy done of my bladder around that time. As I drove to visit her and stay a couple of days, my doctor called me to inform me of the seriousness of my cancer and the major surgery I would need. As I saw Bethany enjoy the excitement of the sights and sounds of college life, I again buckled over in grief, not sure if I would even live to see her graduate from college. Those were difficult days. Afterwards when the cancer appeared in my lymph nodes in 2006, the agony of chemotherapy ensued with multiple hospitalizations. I remember trying to cry as I was being admitted to the hospital for yet another time, but yet the tears wouldn't come. Only a few people had glimpses of the horror I was going through at that time.
However, the Bible proclaims how our tears do not escape the notice of the Heavenly Father. Psalms 56:8 says, "You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle.." He keeps track of them in a unique way. Why does He keep our tears? I'm not really sure. Maybe He looks at our tears a divine measuring rod to show how much we suffer. As a result, perhaps He pours out enough goodness to compensate for the amount of despair we endure, ultimately turning our mourning into dancing and our pain into praise. Sorrowful crying has its purpose, but I would much rather be crying tears of joy.