Sunday, 4 January 2009

The God Who Cried

If you stop and take a look around at the world for a few minutes, it's enough to break your heart. From war-ravaged Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Rwanda and the Congo, to the orphanages of Turkey and Romania, to the Untouchables of India, to the illegal immigrants hiding out in USA and China, to the First Nations children of Canada and the Maori in New Zealand, there winds around this beautiful earth a great line of sorrow and suffering and awful-ness. We who can do our best to forget it, but the cries of our fellow humans sound just beyond the great walls we have erected to keep the sadness out. A great darkness deepens and widens, even as we protest that things are getting better. And though we find ways to distribute food and build shelters and cure diseases, a great wail yet rises. It is not enough.

For if we could find a way to feed and clothe and house them all, and keep them all safe, there remains a gaping need that cannot be filled by us. It sucks life from those who live in abundance and purpose from those who would. People are dying and living dead for want of not food, nor clothing, nor shelter - but love, and you don't have enough to give them, nor do I.

Sometimes it overwhelms me, and I look to the only One who ever could help. Why is he so long in coming? Does he see?

Then I remember that he cried. Not once does the Bible say that Jesus laughed, but it tells us that he cried.

I love him, my weeping God. What a thing for a God to do! Is there another such God in all of our imaginations? A God who cries?
Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?” (John 11:32-37)

His longings are unanswered, too.
When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace!” (Luke 19:41)
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling." (Matthew 23:37)

When I stand, heavy and helpless, before the terrible things that take place in our world, to whom can I turn, but to the Man of Sorrows?

He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
(Isaiah 53:2-11)

Isn't this what humanity needs? A God who can be touched? A God who weeps?

1 comment:

patrick said...

thank you for writing this.