This post is a reflection on a podcast of a sermon called “Praying Our Tears” by Timothy Keller. I took copious notes while listening and wanted to share what I learned with you. I highly encourage all of you to listen to the podcast. You can find it for free on iTunes or on the Redeemer Presbyterian website.
Anyone who’s walked down the infertility road long enough has undoubtedly shed her share of tears. I’ve had days where it feels like the tears will never stop, and my swollen, red eyes will stay that way forever.
Some well-meaning Christians believe we should not cry because it signals a lack of faith. Other well-meaning people say we should give in to our emotions entirely and express our feelings.
But what if there’s another way that doesn’t involve denying or emotions or giving in to self-indulgence? What if we begin to invest our tears? What if we plant our tears so that something may grow from them?
The first step in planting our tears is to realize that our tears belong with God. You only need to read Psalms, Job, or Lamentations to see that crying in the presence of God is safe. God is not turned off or angered by our tears. He can handle our grief and our depression. We are not too much for him.
Next, we need to understand that we plant our tears when we cry with a vision of the cross. What is a vision of the cross? It’s crying to God with the following in mind:
Our tears are not the result of God’s punishment.
Christ took all our sin and the punishments we deserved for it. We can cry with the knowledge that our sufferings and our tears are not a form of God’s punishment. We are innocent.
God has not abandoned us
Jesus knew what it was like to look to heaven and feel like God had abandoned him. His final words on the cross were complete anguish. So when we feel like God has abandoned or forgotten us, we know that He understands our feelings. And his Word promises he will never forsake us or abandon us.
We know our sufferings are small
This one is the hardest for me to live out, because it leaves no room for self-pity. Sometimes I like a good pity-party. But crying with a vision of the cross means that we realize our sufferings are small in comparison to what Christ suffered for us. This doesn’t mean that we deny or stifle our grief, but we grieve with a larger picture.
Finally, we plant our tears by crying while remembering God’s promise of joy.
“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed but they sing as they return with the harvest.” Psalm 126:5-6
God promises that we will not plant our tears in vain. Planting our tears with Him will result in the harvest of joy and singing. We do not know what form that joy will take. Perhaps it will be a baby; perhaps it’s something else we can’t even imagine now.
But He promises us joy.
What do you think about the idea of planting your tears? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.