Through The Tears
By Dot Bowen
"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). John 20:15-16 (NIV)
It’s been said laughter can bring healing to your soul. Regardless of whether it is true, it sounds good, and I love to laugh. My dear friend Robin Pitts has served Jesus with me at Cup of Joy for over 10 years. Robin was recently hospitalized due to a blood clot. After returning home, a few friends and I wanted to take lunch to her. I think down deep we wanted to see for ourselves that she was okay. We sat around the table reminiscing about funny moments we’ve shared over the years, and we couldn’t hold back the laughter. Bless Robin’s heart—we laughed so hard I began to worry we might kill her from laughter rather than heal her soul. We laughed so hard we cried. Isn’t it wonderful to laugh until you cry tears of joy with friends?
On the other hand, nothing is more painful than when a friend hurts you. How quickly our joy can turn to sorrow! When we are hurt deeply, it’s impossible not to shed tears. Have you ever wondered why God created our eyes to produce tears? I’ve learned tears can be a gift from God.
My daughter Christy and I were recently chatting, and she shared an insight Ron Dunn had taught her from the life of Mary Magdalene. Mary was the first person to discover Jesus’ empty tomb. Mary Magdalene wanted to properly prepare Jesus’ body for burial since there wasn’t time to do so between His crucifixion and the observation of the Sabbath. When Mary saw the empty tomb, she began to weep. Oh, how she loved Jesus! Jesus had driven seven demons out of her, and she never stopped loving and following Him.
When Mary arrived at the tomb of Jesus, she believed someone had taken Jesus, and she would never see His body again. She could not hold back her tears! Mary’s eyes were so full of tears she didn’t see Jesus standing in front of her. As I thought about this sweet moment between Jesus and Mary, I couldn’t help remember all the times I felt my heart breaking and wondering where was Jesus in the midst of all my pain? I know now a painful circumstance doesn’t mean Jesus isn’t with me—He is right beside me whatever happens. Mary thought Jesus was the gardener. It would seem Mary, of all people, would have known it was Jesus talking to her. Don’t you think pain has a way of causing us to concentrate on hurting more than the promises of God? When we believe we are alone in the midst of our difficulties, and it seems Jesus doesn’t care, our hearts feel as empty as His tomb.
When our eyes are full of tears, it’s difficult to see the presence of Jesus in our painful circumstances. Tears of pain have a way of blinding us from the truth that Jesus is with us, He is our hope, and He has a purpose for our tears. I believe the best use of our tears is to let them flow, kneel before the throne of Jesus, and be still long enough to ask, “Jesus, where are you?” When I’ve done this, I’ve felt His presence even in my pain. Looking for Jesus in the midst of pain strengthens our faith. When it’s all said and done, Jesus will make the pain worth it. If Mary had remembered Jesus’ promise to rise again, she would’ve been looking for Him along the road instead in the tomb.
Jesus walked out of His tomb so He could walk into the lives of His followers. Nothing could keep Him in the tomb because tombs are for dead people. Jesus is alive! Jesus asked Mary, “Why are you crying?” and I think He may be asking me the same question. Mary was crying because she believed someone had taken Jesus’ body, but Jesus was standing right in front of her. Tears may keep us from seeing Jesus when we are hurting. Our eyes may be filled with tears from pain, but our heart can be encouraged because no matter what we go through, Jesus is with us. When we look to Jesus—the author and finisher of our faith—we know there is nothing that can happen to us without His permission and His presence. I have discovered no one can wipe a tear away better than Jesus. I know because I have experience!
John 20:1-18; John 11:35; Revelation 21:4
Further Reading Ecclesiastes 1:1-12:14