“Can you wipe my tears?” sobs my two year old great granddaughter Makenna holding her arms up toward her mommy to be picked up from her crib.
Perhaps the little child had an age-appropriate nightmare or had just awakened and cried when she realized she was alone in the dark. Of course mommy picks her up and hugs her close. Then with both hands she wipes the tear drops flowing down Makenna's cheeks.
Love, warmth, compassion, comfort, consolation, solace, and relief are all bundled up in a mommy wiping away her child's tears.
Likewise, whatever season of life we are in, and whatever our adult circumstances, we have tears that we want wiped away. If not actual liquid tears, then the tears of our heart which are unseen but deeply felt. We have a divine, loving, warm, compassionate Consoler who comes with solace to rescue us when we call. “The Sovereign Lord shall wipe away the tears from all faces...” (Isaiah 25:8).
We all have our own nightmares, our fear of the darkness, the anxiety of loneliness, the sometimes insurmountable pressure of our human circumstances. Right now it's night time and there are still human tears to shed. God reaches to us in the dark to enfold us close to His bosom and dry our tears. We can stay snuggled in the shelter of His arms peaceful and poised while everybody else seems to be going crazy and our lives are whirling out of control. Why? Because we know that ultimately the dawn will break, joy is coming, all will be well. We can smile through our grownup tears in the midst of whatever chaos we are in and say, "I know how all this is going to end!”
God's promise to us is that in His kingdom, there will be no hurting or mourning or tears. He will comfort us, wipe away our tears, and heal our deepest wounds. The Scripture uses the metaphor of God collecting our tears in a bottle implying that He doesn't overlook them, they are not wasted, they are precious. Whatever causes our human tears, whether grief or loss or regret or hardship or aloneness or illness or the aging and debilitating aspects of aging, Jesus promised “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.”
Whatever doesn't get straightened out on earth and in mortal time, will find its fulfillment in heaven according to Revelation 21. Although suffering is a permanent feature of our life on earth, the sure promise of God is, “He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain.”
I imagined our tears with another metaphor--the weeping of the sky as the rain falls in sympathetic echo of our earthly tears--when I wrote:
Why does the sky cry?
Is it for what has been and is no more?
Is it for what is not and never will be?
Is it for what will be but is delayed?
Does the sky cry from emptiness or fullness?
Or simply because in the cycle of seasons
it is time to cry?
The sky needs release and the thirsty ground
needs sky tears to soften the soil
and prepare for spring: the planting
sprouting, birth of life.
The weeping sky and the rejoicing earth
meet in expectancy for the certainty
of growth after the spring rain.
Why does my heart cry?
I don't know why. Perhaps for all the reasons
of the sky and earth combined
for I am part of that cycle of life and its seasons.
I seem to be always in transition, always in anticipation
always in passage to another stage.
I, too, cry from emptiness and from fullness
and for release. Sometimes wistfully looking backward
and then again pressing longingly forward.
Sometimes my tears are neither sad nor glad.
Perhaps my tears are the bridge between
the loving decrees of God for my life
those unknown episodes still beyond the horizon
and the thirst of my earth-heart to know what they are
and what the coming spring will bring
after the planting, after the sprouting
after the births of life that will come forth in me
after God has dried my earthly tears
after the spring rain when the sun bursts forth again
perhaps with the surprise of an awesome rainbow
after all will be revealed
when He “makes all things new.”