Emily Teterud – Associate Marketing Director
This week, we continue in our Grounded series talking through how we can find God and what He wants us to know about Him through our studies of Dirt, Fire, Sweat, and now Tears. In a culture that values positivity and avoiding tears, this issue is an important one to wrestle with as we realize the value in tears. There are beneficial ways to use tears as a healthy part of lamenting to God.
Are you one to hold back tears? When is the last time you had a good cry? For adults, this question is usually a little more hit-and-miss than with children. It’s common for all kids to cry pretty easily. And when you get to be an adult, it’s difficult to bring up the subject and to encourage a healthy expression of tears. Our culture may not cry enough, but maybe that’s because we are not recognizing a healthy way to express lament.
We see in scripture that Jesus Himself cried and expressed lament. Even in times when he knew the outcome was going to be good, His tears show us a deeper meaning and way to connect with God. This brings us to an important distinction for tears: complaining vs. lamenting. It’s one thing to complain about a situation and keep the tears self-focused. It’s another thing to express lament for something that makes our hearts ache, with right motives.
The Psalms are filled with laments directed to God. Some do not have a resolution or a feel-good verse at the end, but they are honest expressions of people crying out to God in hurt. How can we decide if our tears are worthy of lament or just a selfish complaint? We can remind ourselves of this truth: A lament draws you closer to God, a complaint draws you deeper into yourself.
The big idea tied in with this message is: Tears can clear our vision to see God.
But we must keep in mind the importance of allowing the tears to be drawing us closer to God. When is the last time you cried? Are you focusing your lament on seeing new characteristics of God? Allow Him to be your Comforter in this season. He can handle your wrestling, your worries, anger, hurt, tears. And He is ready to strengthen you through it in order to see Him more clearly.
Verses and quotes from the sermon:
Jeremiah 4; John 11:33-36; Psalm 77:1-9; Luke 19:41-42; Lamentations 2:8; Jeremiah 7:28-29; Jeremiah 9:19-20; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9; Psalm 34:18
“Lament is an expression of grief that God meets us in.” Esther Fleece
“Lamentations helps us face the world’s suffering and weep over and protest it. But it does so within the grand narrative of Scripture, with its redemptive center in the cross and resurrection of Christ, and its glorious, hope-filled climax in the new creation, in which all suffering, weeping, and death will be no more.” Christopher J. H. Wright
Rain by Shel Silverstein
I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.
I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand–
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.
You Make Me Brave – Bethel Music
Let There Be Light – Hillsong Music
Only Like You – Central Music