Devotional Week 17 Monday
Today’s Texts and Thoughts of Encouragement
“You who have been borne by Me from your birth, carried from the womb, even to your old age I am He, and even to hair white with age will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear; yes, I will carry and will save you. To whom will you liken Me and compare Me.”
Isaiah 46: 3-5
“The Vicar of St. Matthew’s who visited Dr. J. H. Jowett during his last sickness says that Dr. Jowett said to him one day, ‘I said, ‘Lord, I am one of the cavalry and I am laid low.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘You are not one of the cavalry, you are one of My sheep.’
“To be one of the Lords’ sheep is to be loved by Him, to be led by Him and to be dependent on Him in everything and all the time. The sheep can never do without its shepherd.”
“The Shepherd’s bosom bears each lamb
O’er rock, and waste and wild;
The object of that care I am
I am the Shepherd’s child.”
Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
Streams in the Desert, Volume 4
Today’s Study Texts:
1. “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. They were His dear friends, and He held them in loving esteem...then Jesus told His disciples, Lazarus is dead…and Jesus said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ (And) Jesus wept.”
John 11: 5, 14, 35
2. “He is despised and rejected forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him. Surely He has borne our grief’s, sickness, weaknesses, and distresses and carried our sorrows and pains, yet we ignorantly considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God.”
Isaiah 11: 3, 4
“Lest I Forget” – Part 9
“Show Me Where They Tenderly Mourned and Wept”
“There are times when God asks nothing of His children except silence, patience and tears.”
Is my heart so filled with grief right now that tears continuously fall from my eyes?
When my heart is bursting with sorrow, have I turned to my heavenly Comforter for healing and love?
How does it make me feel to know that my precious Saviour wept when His heart was broken and grief-filled?
“Blessed are those who mourn, God will comfort them.”
Matthew 5: 4
G.N.B. and K.J.V.
“In every pang that rends the heart, the Man of Sorrows has a part.”
The beloved Apostle John, who touchingly referred to himself as, “the disciple who Jesus loved,” is the only one of the “Gospel” authors to give us an extremely detailed record of the death of one of Jesus’ closest friends on earth, Lazarus of Bethany. John points out that not only did Jesus stay put for two days when He heard Lazarus was sick, but then, “after that interval He said to His disciples, ‘Let us go back again to Judea,’” (John 11: 6,7).
We might be struck with the fact that this delay seems completely out of character for a real friend. Why wouldn’t Jesus drop everything and get to the side of His sick friend as quickly as possible? After a time span of four days, Jesus arrived in Bethany and was immediately met by Lazarus’ two distraught and grieving sisters, Martha and Mary. It is at this point in time when John pens these words: “When Jesus saw (Mary) sobbing, and the Jews who came with her also sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. And He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept” (John 11: 33-35, Amplified Bible). Commentator Matthew Henry makes these observations regarding the sorrowful-scene in Bethany: “Christ’s tender sympathy with his afflicted friends, and the share He took to Himself in their sorrows, appeared by the inward groans and troubles of His Spirit…the griefs of His (children) represented in the tears of Mary and her friends – what an emblem was here of this world, this vale of tears…Christ gave proof of His humanity, in both senses of the word; that, as a man, He could weep, and, as a merciful man, He would weep…He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief as was foretold by the prophet Isaiah.” As one Christian author portrays, “Though Jesus was the Son of God, yet He had taken human nature upon Him, and He was moved by human sorrow. His tender, pitying heart is ever awakened to sympathy. He weeps with those who weep, and rejoices with those that rejoice…The weight of the grief of ages was upon Him.”
How my sin-sick heart melts at the thought of my Jesus shedding tears right along with me when I am broken and sorrowful. The knowledge that we are not left to suffer alone when afflicted by grief or pain should give courage and strength to your heart and mine for even when no human hand can take away the depth of despair that blots from our sight any hope, all we have to do is think of the two simple words left to us by John, “Jesus wept.”
But theses more to the empathetic care shown by our Saviour whose children have hearts which are broken by the troubles life heaps upon us.
On the long walk to Calvary, Dr. Luke tells us that “there accompanied Jesus a great multitude of the people, including women who bewailed and lamented Him” (Luke 23: 27, Amplified Bible). Whether it was on that painful walk to Calvary’s crest or as the nails were pounded through the hands and feet of Jesus – hands that had touched Joanna, and Mary Magdalene and many others and had brought health to their afflicted bodies and minds – tears of love flowed as a stream of gratitude in the face of abject cruelty and hatred. I do not doubt for a moment that as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus lovingly carried the body of their Master and Lord to what they thought would be Jesus’ final resting place, that tears stained their cheeks as well. Jesus’ mother Mary, an eyewitness to the torture and anguish which her perfect Son sustained, must have wept as never before. And we can only imagine that her thoughts may well have gone to the day when righteous and devout Simeon stated to her at the dedication of her precious baby boy, “Behold, this child is appointed and destined for the fall and rising of many and for a sign that is spoken against. And a sword will pierce through your own soul also – that the secret thoughts and purposes of many hearts may be brought out and disclosed” (Luke 2: 34, 35, Amplified Bible). Standing over the body of her whipped and bloodied child, that boy she had shared so many happy hours with, I believe our eyes would see that indeed, during those hours at the cross and tomb, a sword had stabbed the loving heart of Mary and as her tears dropped like a healing balm upon her precious Son, she may well have cried out like many of us, “Why? Oh, why?”
I’ve always found the simple poems and prayers of author Helen Steiner Rice to not only be timely but to address as well the challenges all of us face in our lives each day. Her poem “Before You Can Dry Another’s Tear, You Too Must Weep” is such a touching reflection on the fact that not only does our Savior weep right along with us but that the pain we face can open our hearts to the aching of other hearts around us:
From the things that draw me close to Thee.
For how can I ever hope to heal
The wounds of others I do not feel?
If my eyes are dry and I never weep,
How do I know when the hurt is deep?
If my heart is cold and it never bleeds,
How can I tell what my sister needs?
For when ears are deaf to the beggar’s plea
And we close our eyes and refuse to see
And we steel our hearts and harden our minds
And we count it a weakness whenever we are kind,
We are no longer following the Father’s way
Or seeking His guidance from day to day…
For, without crosses to carry and burdens to bear,
We dance through a life that is fair,
And, chasing the rainbow, we have no desire
For roads that are rough and realms that are higher…
So spare me no heartache or sorrow, dear Lord,
For the heart that hurts reaps the richest reward,
And God bless the heart that is broken with sorrow
As He opens the door to a brighter tomorrow
For only through tears can we recognize
The suffering that lies in another’s eyes.”
Throughout Scripture, our Father in heaven seeks to assure us of His loving compassion for each of us when we are sorrowfully afflicted with trial and turmoil. In the words of the Psalmist David, we are reminded that, “You number and record my wanderings; (You) put my tears into Your bottle – are they not in Your book (Psalm 56: 8, Amplified Bible). What love is bestowed into every aching heart today. For our Father wants us to know our tears matter to Him. Our breaking hearts are never out of His mind. And finally in what I believe to be the essence of our loving Father’s gentle expression toward you and toward me, He promises us that a day is coming, very soon I pray, when: “God has moved into the neighborhood, making His (eternal) home with men and women! They’re His people, He’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good – tears gone, crying gone, pain gone…I’m making everything new. Write it all down – each word dependable and accurate” (Revelation 21: 3,14, The Message Bible). No more tears for God, Himself, will wipe away your tears and mine – permanently, for all eternity!
“Jesus called these (earthly) pains birth pains. And so, what seems a hindrance becomes a way; what seems an obstacle becomes a door; and what seems a misfit becomes a cornerstone. Jesus changes our history from a random series of sad incidents and accidents into a constant opportunity for a change of heart.”
Henri J. M. Nouwen
Our affirmation today comes from the words to the song “Tears Will Never Stain the Streets of That City” penned by the phenomenal Dottie Rambo. I agree with Helen Steiner Rice when she observes that those who have faced pain, heartache and suffering can, because of the depth of anguish they have experienced, understand and relate to the pain others endure. This song touches my heart because I know that it was written by one of God’s daughters who experienced times of great pain and heartache in her life. And yet, from her tender heart, Dottie Rambo wrote a song of such beauty and words which remind us that there will be a new day coming when – Praise God! – “the heart will never break anymore.”
“If I could count all the tears that have fallen
They would seem like an Ocean to me, And if
My heart were a window that you could look through
All the pain and scars you would see.
But Tears will never stain the streets of that city
No wreaths of death on my mansion door
Teardrops aren’t welcome beyond the gates of glory
Cause the heart will never break anymore.
I’d questioned the loss of a loved one,
The grave seems so final and cold,
Oh, but we’ll meet again, where death has no victory,
In a land where we will never grow old.
Well I’ve never met one man without sorrow
Never looked into eyes with no pain
But I know a land where grief is a total stranger
And songs of joy are the only songs they sing.
Tears will never stain the streets of that city
No wreaths of death on my mansion door
Teardrops aren’t welcome beyond the gates of glory
Cause the heart will never break anymore
Cause the heart will never break anymore.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus