Why She Weeps
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. -- Isaiah 40:1
Imagine the calm of a beautiful river. It does not toil and, for a while, there is no impediment. A smooth, rippling surface attracts you. It’s waters are crystal clear and the exposed rounded stones beneath lure you into the body of its presence. This, you think, is what a river should be!
Turn the bend of years with me now and behold the sharper rocks that have risen suddenly from the depths, choking the water at its neck, shaking it back and forth; the water kicks its legs and gurgles to be free. There is turmoil here. The nature of the water has not changed, but the rocks have changed it, and the very foundations of the river bed have been stirred, shifted, and rerouted by hard things.
Here, even the hardened weep when they behold their sins (along with other’s). The elemental forces of the water have not changed, though they are changing – just as the skin bleeding from a cut does not change the body’s ability to harden over in scabbing, replacing the old skin. Renewed still waters and new skin will again appear…
But, for now, it is broken. Perhaps, faith has been broken. Perhaps, hope. Even love. But that bed in the river does not yet signify death.
This is only the crux, weeping one.
“Don’t worry; God’s got this!” – some well-intentioned numbskull shouts from the raft as you drown in the rapids. You hear the whispers of your other frenemies, wearing bright orange life jackets, unwilling to touch your mess, swirling above your head: “If she were a real Christian,” they say, and, “If she had more faith, she’d be past this by now.” Your heart melts, as your life fades away, while they wave you on from still waters up ahead. Suddenly, life is like a party you were kicked out of and the swirling blind sludge of the river your only companion.
Sinking, sinking, sinking – You could fight, you think to yourself. But why? Those closest to you, couldn’t see or hear you in your greatest hour of need. What’s left to fight for now? A soulless carcass? The twitching nerves of a deer stunned to death on the roadside? You feel reduced to this. And the vulture’s circle overhead.
In an American and Christian culture presently chained to earthly pursuits and missions of happiness – sadness, despair, and weeping are the seventh circle of hell. No one understands, even when they offer you pills of pretending and sermonic sympathies. They’re just waiting for you to get happy again so you can do that thing for them you did before…
Or, so it feels. There is no balm, no comfort – for the death of a child, for the betrayal of all you’ve ever known, for the countless and numb days of fighting to barely survive, for the insulted injury of being misunderstood or abused in a way you can never make right – mentally, spiritually, physically, socially, or economically. It is a crushing weight, and, for now, the only fruit you see is bursting from your body in the form of inconvenient foundation-smudging tears.
When he reached the end of the road, the grave, Jesus defeated death. Even so – even in knowing resurrection was before him – “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). He walked in our anguish and did not revile it. Instead, as for Lazarus’ family (and the whole world!), he mourned with those who mourn.
And then – and here’s the Crux – He worked wonders.
Don’t believe me? That’s okay. I’d rather you didn’t. Instead, believe in Him. Journey with me through life’s tragedies and the scriptures, and permit me only to remind you, beloved, that God is good.
God is good.
Join me in journeying to find God’s goodness in the things we don’t understand…
A. Epae Savoy