Faith Moment
October 20, 2014
Every Tear

I listened as the young mother told the interviewer how proud she was of her daughter.  “She solved the crime.  She was her own hero,” Erin said.  Five year-old Samantha was the victim of a cruel murder, and her own tears were the evidence that sealed the case against her abductor.  DNA in the form of teardrops was found on the passenger-side door of the killer’s car, irrevocably making their mark on the crime scene.

Samantha’s murder is yet another symptom of a sick and desperate world.  The problems of evil and pain jar us daily.

But another detail of this story jolted me: I had no idea that our tears were so personally our own.  Samantha’s tears solved the case because there were none others like hers. They were unique, intricately a part of Samantha herself.  In the pains and joys that cause us to weep, we leave marks far more intimate than we realize.  We shed evidence of our own makeup, leaving behind a complex, yet humble message: I was here, and my pain was real.  The thought brings new depth to the image of the sinful woman weeping at the side of Jesus, washing His feet with her unique tears.

There is something wonderful in the Christian hope that our pain will one day be removed and our tears will be no more.  We are comforted by the image of heaven as the place where God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.  There is much hope in the promise that there will one day “be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” (Revelation 21:4)  But perhaps there is also something wonderful about a God who has marked our tears so specifically they declare that our pain is far from an empty occurrence.

There is a line from the Psalms that has been comforting to me through the years.  To God, the psalmist confesses, “You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle.” (Psalm 56:8)  Tear-bottles were small urns of glass or pottery created to collect the tears of mourners at the funerals of loved ones.  They were placed in the sepulchers at Rome and in Palestine. In some ancient tombs, these bottles are found in great numbers.

How assuring to know that the One who made our tear ducts does not view our pain haphazardly. God has kept count of each tear we’ve wept. God knows our laments intimately.

But also, God has shed tears of his own, personally taking on the limitations and sufferings of creation.  

I know of no equal comfort in the midst of life’s sorrow.  God has offered us a savior as unique and personal as the tears we shed, crying out for answers and consolation.  Every tear is marked with the intricacies of our Creator, every cry heard by One who wept at the grave of Lazarus, every lament collected in His bottle until the day when tears will be no more.


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