It seems at times that there is enough grief in this world to rival the sands of the seashore. Disappointment, loss, barrenness cloak our existence. We cry out with Job that it would have been better to have never been born. Life is hard. Pain is deep. Heartache is real.
Whether it’s the young mom whose womb delivered the baby too soon or the young man who just lost his job only to find out the next week he has cancer, doubt and questions abound.
I know these people, they are real, they are human, and they are hurting. We bleed alongside them. Cry out for them in prayer and ask for grace as their lives are turned upside down.
What Dry-Eyes Cannot See
A good friend of mine recently recommended a book written by a father who had lost his son. In Lament for a Son, Nicholas Wolterstorff describes the death of his son, who was 25 years old. Full of life, an avid mountain climber, his son lost his life doing what he loved most: mountain climbing.
The book is poetic in quality as Wolterstorff beautifully describes his lament, and all he lost with the death of his child. So much of what he writes is breathtaking, but there was one line in particular that really stood out to me:
“I shall look at the world through tears. Perhaps I shall see things that dry-eyed I could not see.”
Tears change the perspective of a heart. Sorrow deepens a soul in a way that happiness cannot. We can see things through tears that we would never see otherwise.
I am reminded of the beatitudes, that community of travelers that Christ so beautifully described. It was in their persecution, mourning, and privation that they found blessing. “Blessed are they…”
Bonhoeffer devotes an entire chapter to these beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) in his book The Cost of Discipleship. He writes,
“Too menacing, too loud are the voices of these poor meek men, too patient and too silent their suffering. Too powerful are the testimony of their poverty and their endurance of the wrongs of the world. This is fatal, and so, while Jesus calls them blessed, the world cries: “Away with them, away with them!”
The world does not know this kind of blessing.
Where do those who look at the world through tears go? Where can they find their respite?
The Fellowship of the Crucified
It is only at the cross where the suffering and broken can find fellowship.
“We naturally ask if there is any place on this earth for the community which they describe. Clearly, there is one place, and only one, and that is where the poorest, meekest, and most sorely tried of all men is to be found--on the cross at Golgotha. The fellowship of the beatitudes is the fellowship of the Crucified. With him it has lost all, and with him it has found all.”
The cross is the place where death and life intersect. We lose it all to find it all. In our brokenness, neediness, and hopelessness we find strength and courage to carry on. A fellowship that is so sweet it can only be tasted through tears births within.
Martin Luther King Jr. beautifully articulates in Strength to Love, “Almost anything that happens to us may be woven into the purposes of God...The cross, which was willed by wicked men, was woven by God into the tapestry of world redemption.”
The most fatal moment of history became the cornerstone of redemption. There is a fellowship found only by those who lay broken at the foot of the cross. Here Jesus embraced disappointment in its most profound sense in oder to give those crucified with Him infinite hope.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope...Our refusal to be stopped, our ‘courage to be,’ our determination to go on ‘in spite of,’ reveal the divine image within us. The man who has made this discovery knows that no burden can overwhelm him and no wind of adversity can blow his hope away. He can stand anything that can happen to him.”
He can look at the world through the tears of the cross and see things that those who are dry-eyed can never see.
She can find fellowship with the community of travelers broken at the cross, bleeding heartache but experiencing a grace transfusion.
We can know profound disappointment but still have infinite hope. Because He is hope. And those that see the world through tears, see God.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Momma to three pixies, Lyric, Brielle, and Zion, wife to a Viking-loving writer, daughter of the King. My blog reflects living the lyrics of the cross in the beauty of everyday. I hold a Masters in theology, but more importantly, I host several barn owls in the second acre. We are all about breathing deep here and soaking in the glory of life.