I am constantly aware of that shadowy, quietly wicked person that lurks just under the surface of my skin. Its that dead one trying to magnify what sometimes still looks good to me, the new me, the real me. I know those things are counterfeit, but they seem to give comfort for a season, in a world that just never ceases sucking the life out of you. Having been made new in Christ, that old me is sly and looks for every opportunity to dissuade, mislead, and discourage if it can't have full rein any longer. My own private Gollum, it disguises its true nastiness with faux compliance waiting for an opportunity to cease power. Oh yes, I know it is there and have allowed it to lead me into some dark places because it seemed easier in a moment of fatigue. I have lingered too long in some of those places, trying to recoup my strength and tend my wounds. And as the cliche goes, sin took me further than I wanted to go, kept me longer than I wanted to stay, and cost me more than I wanted to pay.
But as I battle those old habits, attitudes, mindsets, I find the taste of those old things stale, and the comfort they seem to have given multiplies the heaviness in my soul instead of removing it. Then, I know its time to let go of the selfishness. When the cares of this world weigh me down, the worry of all the dread tyranny that is gaining momentum in our day, and what kind of persecutions we may have to endure, what kind of future my sons have to look forward to, it becomes too much for my mind to handle, and I'm tempted to turn to those stupid ways. Another battle ensues. And when I finally come to the end of all that is me (why must it be such a fight), I turn my eyes heavenward dropping to my knees. Crushed under the weight of trying to hold it all up, trying to hold it together, the tears begin to stream down as I cry out to the Maker of the heavens and the earth to touch me again, to let me climb up into his lap and utter that wonderful, healing word, "Abba."
Recently I was having one of those "Abba" moments and a song I was listening to began with the words of this Divine promise: "They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." -Revelation 7. 16 & 17. As I began thinking about all the people this promise has and will affect, I began to think about those tears, how many kinds of tears will be wiped away.
Tears begin when there is a tearing away within, a departure, a realization of truth disintegrating your illusion, suddenly knowing you are powerless in the midst of circumstances. When a person comes to the knowledge of Salvation through Christ, there are tears of repentance; seeing your true sinful state and turning to trust no longer in what you thought was strong and right, but in Him Who is strong and Who is righteousness. We turn and depart from that illicit affair with self, and there is a tearing within, a rending that hurts. It is like those kinds of tears that come when we lose something unexpectedly; a loved one, a job, something dear to us. Those tears come because it hurts, because we are wounded. I've cried lots of those tears. So far, the majority of my tears have been this kind.
There are other kinds of tears because there are deeper depths of suffering. Losing something or someone close to you is nothing in comparison to suffering because of who or what you are. The Apostle wrote that those who have suffered because of their faith are done with sin. I want that. I am only beginning to understand these kinds of tears. They come because of suffering not brought on by your own actions, or by an outward loss, but the kind of change that causes the members of your own family to become your enemies (Matthew 10.34-39). There is the deep, lonely pain of rejection and betrayal in those tears. There is a sorrow not comforted by those fleshly things-shopping, eating, alcohol, or whatever other means of numbing out we use. These tears don't flow out in the smooth, cleansing way of repentance. They explode from your eyes like boulders rolling down a hill. They burn because they are usually accompanied by lack of sleep. They are bitter and harsh. And the more I become acquainted with them, the easier I am broken and moved toward the desire to really fulfill the purpose "Abba" has in me.
The step son of a carpenter sat on a hill overlooking his capital city one evening two-thousand years ago, and he wept tears for a stubborn nation who refused to see the truth and light that had been pulsing through its hills, valleys, and plains. He knew the depth of suffering that lingered for him, the scourgings, the cross, just moments away. These were not selfish tears, nor tears of loss of personal relationship, but loss of a dream. He knew that, even after the amazing sacrifice was offered, a vast majority would continue purposely not seeing, not hearing, not understanding. As Believers, we know the end result of all the current turmoil that is climaxing before our very eyes. But I wonder, does He cry those tears still?
"How deep the Father's love for us. How vast beyond all measure, that He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure." One day He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes. There's a Glory coming. But, before all things are made new, and all this earthly turmoil is ceased, before there is no more hungering and thirsting, before I am eternally rid of my "Gollum" and made into perfection, and all my worries cast into the abyss, there must be tears.