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A Strong and Tender Prayer

Read: 2 Kings 20:1-6; Luke 7:11-17; Luke 22:54-62; Luke 19:41-44; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

 

Have you ever walked into a room just in time to hear the last part of what must have been an interesting and uplifting conversation? If the people who were talking go their own ways, you are left with questions. Oh well, usually we forget about those incidents right away, but this week, I turned on a call-in show just in time to hear a lady's prayer being repeated. It was a tender yet strong prayer, but I missed the story that spawned the prayer. The only thing I heard about her story was that she had gone through some very difficult and deep waters. Even knowing that little bit made her prayer request special to me. Her desire was that God would use her tears to water the garden of another. What a strong and yet tender request. In the natural sense, we all know how watering plants helps even the drooping ones revive. The leaves that might have begun to wither, begin to be strengthened. On-going watering sustains them until it is time for them to bloom or bear fruit. I love the picture that lady's prayer paints. She wants God to take her sorrow and the comfort God has given her and allow them to sustain and strengthen someone else.

 

Let's look at some truth from the Bible concerning those who shed tears and God's heart toward them. We know that He has told us that one day, He will wipe away our tears, Revelation 21:4; however, until that day, let's be encouraged by some of His truths concerning this subject that is still a part of our everyday lives right now.

 

First, He sees our tears, 2 Kings 20:1-6. It must have been quite a shock for King Hezekiah when Isaiah told him that his time on earth was almost over. Hezekiah met those words with prayers and tears. He reminded God that he had been a faithful king, and it was his desire to continue to rule God's people. God Truth. Before Isaiah had gone very far, God sent him back with a message. The Holy One Who created the heavens and the earth, Genesis 1:1 had heard Hezekiah's prayers and seen his tears.

It is hard to find sweeter truth than the knowledge that we are seen. From the time when we are little, the knowledge that someone who loves us sees us is precious, and Hezekiah's story brings comfort when we or others are withering. We are not forgotten. In fact, Psalm 56:8 restates this fact. The Lord records and takes note of our tears. In a world where we often can't find a live person on the other end of a phone call, isn't it amazing that Almighty God sees our tears.

 

Second, He has compassion when we hurt, Luke 7:11-17. What a sad day it surely was for this unnamed widow. This short but wonderful incident is only found in Luke's gospel, but I'm glad that he, prompted by the Holy Spirit told us what happened on that amazing day. God Truth. The Lord does not look upon pain and sorrow with indifference; instead, He has compassion toward those who suffer. While Jesus lived on earth, John 1:14, He displayed this compassion by alleviating suffering as He did for this lady when He raised her son from the dead; however, He did much more than His wonderful miracles. He demonstrated His compassion in an infinitely greater way when He made atonement for sin, 1 John 2:1-2. Because He did that, we all have the opportunity to live with Him where there will be no evil, pain or death, Revelation 21-22. There we will know His love and compassion in an unfathomable way, and it will never come to an end.

 

Third, He has compassion when we sin, Luke 22:54-62. It must have been shockingly sad for Simon Peter. After all, it had not been long since the apostle had been so certain. Others might deny the Master, but he wouldn't. He boldly said so, Luke 22:33-34. Yet, He hadn't denied knowing Jesus once or twice. It was three times, and then the One he had eaten with and grown close to, to turned and looked at him. God Truth. God knew Peter would fall, Luke 22:31-32. He had told him that very thing, but the Savior also knew that He would restore Peter and that Peter would feed His sheep. Jesus knew that Peter's tears were not worldly sorrow but the godly kind. Tears of repentance, 2 Corinthians 7:9-11. The kind that results in good fruit. How amazing it is that Jesus already knows each time we will sin; yet, as it was with Peter, the Savior sustains and picks us up. He does not look at us His children with eyes of disgust but rather, with eyes of love. No wonder Peter wept fervently.

 

Fourth, He grieved over those who did not receive Him, Luke 19:41-44. What a sorrowful experience this day surely held for the Savior. He had come, as Zechariah said He would, riding on a donkey, Zechariah 9:9. Yet, for the most part, He was rejected by those who should have known that He was Messiah. No wonder He wept. Even though He had been rejected by His own, His heart wasn't callous toward them. He told them about the pain the nation would suffer, and He wept because He knew what was ahead for His people. God Truth. Jesus' tears show us God's heart toward those who are apathetic about Him or even spurn His love altogether. The tears Jesus cried on that day are like our own when we pray for those we love who still don't belong to Him. He truly understands these tears because they have poured out of His own eyes.

 

There are of course, more truths we can learn from the tears we see in the Bible, but one truth is certain. The truths we have highlighted give us a little glimpse as to why God is called the God of all comfort, 2 Corinthians 1:3. He sees our tears, has compassion when we sorrow, gives us strength to repent when we fall and sorrows over those who reject His love.

 

There is much living water here. Enough to sustain us and perhaps even enough to strengthen and to water the garden of another. Refreshment received from the God of all comfort, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

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