Gospel in the Everyday | Tears

If you’re a parent you’ll be acquainted with tears.

Tears of joy when the two lines appear on the test. Tears when the hormones surge and you feel overwhelmed at all the changes that are happening to your body. Tears of gratitude when you see the vertebrae of your baby’s spine on the scan. Tears when they wiggle and kick inside you just as you were afraid of the worst. Tears when the contractions get stronger. Tears when the pushing gets tougher. Tears when the baby gulps down their first breath and screams at the top of their lungs. Tears when they lie peacefully in their cot next to you and you think, “They’re actually here, I’ve never seen anything more beautiful in my life.”

Tears. Tears. Tears.

Tears when the social worker asks intrusive questions and makes you doubt your suitability for adoption. Tears of fear before your interview with the panel. Tears after an argument because the pressure and uncertainty is straining your marriage. Tears when weeks roll into months and you still haven’t had the phone call of the perfect match. Tears when you meet your child for the first time. Tears when you take them home and show them their bedroom, and introduce them to the dog, and tell them where their toys are. Tears of relief when you get the court ruling that you are the legal parent.

Tears. Tears. Tears.

Tears of frustration when they defy you for the millionth time because “no” they do not want to eat their cereal and would much rather scream at the top of their lungs. Tears of fear when they have disappeared and you can’t find them and you know there’s a busy road outside… and tears of relief when you find them hiding in the food cupboard! Tears of sadness when they are left out and rejected by their peers. Tears of joy when they sing in the school play. Tears of pride when they finally learn to ride their bike without stabilisers.

Tears of disappointment when they lie to you. Tears of worry when they retreat into themselves and keep you locked out of their heart and room. Tears of anger when they treat you appallingly. Tears of fear when they don’t come home when you are expecting them and they don’t answer their phone. Tears of pride when they pass their driving test. Tears of joy when they are wearing their gown and hat and you’re not entirely sure how it’s happened but your baby is a (somewhat!) responsible adult who can live independently and who has just graduated with a degree. Tears of sorrow and joy as they say their wedding vows.

Tears. Tears. Tears.

The life of the parent is a life marked by tears.

The life of a child is a life marked by tears.

Tears express lots of things for a child.

Hungry tummy, scared to be alone, teething pain, scraped knees, hurtful words, losing a game, disappointment, sickness bug, being disciplined, failing, being left out, nightmares, chicken pox, braking an arm, having to share, injections, facing exams… so many reasons to cry. Life is hard. Kids learn that pretty quickly.

Tears. Tears. Tears.

The other day that familiar sound rang through our house. Running feet, head impacting wood and an almighty scream! Our pre-schooler picked himself up and started running again, this time to me. He buried his face in my neck. Between sobs he exclaimed  “kiss me better!” So I did what any parent would. I kissed his head. I held him until his body stopped shaking. I told him I was here with him. And I waited for the sobbing to subside. Then when he had quietened down I looked at his face. Red. Blotchy. Wet. I wiped away his tears and kissed his cheeks. The salty taste lingered on my lips and in my mind I was transported to a future moment.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

Revelation 21

You see our parental instinct to kiss away the pain and wipe away the salty tears is just a tiny reflection of the Father-heart of God. God collects our tears in a bottle and keeps track of our sorrows (Psalm 56:8). And one day he will wipe away every tear from the eyes of his children – forever. He can wipe them away forever because he is recreating this world into a world where all the sad things will end. Where, as Samwise Gamgee wonderfully puts it, all sad things will come untrue.

There are some lovely things in life that bring tears of happiness. But many tears of pain are shed too. It’s a sad reality of life.

For now.

But one day that will no longer be the case.

So next time you wipe away your child’s tears (or even one of your own), let it be a gentle yet wonderful reminder to you of the gospel. Let it remind you that God sees your tears. Let it remind you that God sympathises with you as the one who knows our suffering and has been there with us. And let it remind you that God will one day wipe away the final tear of sadness from your eyes, and then tears will be no more.

Come Lord Jesus.

This is part of our “Gospel In The Everyday” series where we explore how everyday, ordinary moments point us to the comfort, hope and joy of the good news of Jesus. Click here to read the introduction to this series. 

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10 thoughts on “Gospel in the Everyday | Tears

  • May 8, 2017 at 12:12 pm
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    Love this! Reminds me of the line in Praise You in This Storm “Every tear I cry, You hold in Your hands”. Such encouragement knowing He cares about our every tear!

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    • May 18, 2017 at 8:35 pm
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      We love that song too Nicole – we’re excited to be seeing Casting Crowns at a music festival in a couple of weeks in fact! Thanks for commenting.

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  • May 8, 2017 at 12:49 pm
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    This is brilliant!! So evocative and so well written. Amazing that God knows every single tear we cry, and that our children cry, and cares, and loves, and holds us. Thanks for sharing this!

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    • May 18, 2017 at 8:34 pm
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      Thanks so much for your encouragement Joanna! It is truly amazing that the creator-God of the universe cares about us in this way, like a parent to a child. Mind-blowing!

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  • May 8, 2017 at 7:12 pm
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    What a beautiful account of the experience of living. Life is hard and some tears won’t end unti we leave this earth. Great reminder of God’s comfort and presence now and eternal hope.

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    • May 18, 2017 at 8:32 pm
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      Amen Bonnie!

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  • May 12, 2017 at 6:44 pm
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    Thank you so much for writing this and pointing us to Revelation 21 – that’s the hope we need -especially when parenting is tough! Thank you 🙂

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    • May 18, 2017 at 8:31 pm
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      Our pleasure Elizabeth! Thanks for commenting.

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  • May 16, 2017 at 1:52 am
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    What a great and relatable image for this passage! Love how you made it real with your own story of wiping tears away.

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    • May 18, 2017 at 8:31 pm
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      Thanks Lauren. It was that exact moment of our little one sobbing that reminded me of the future hope we have as described in Rev 21. How amazing to be able to tell our children that one day there will be no more pain or tears! Wonderful.

      Reply

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