“He Collects Our Tears …”

“Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep.  And he entered his chamber and wept there.  Then he washed his face and came out.  And controlling himself he said, ‘Serve the food.” (Genesis 43:30-31, ESV)

God’s providence is a biblical truth highlighted through the lives and times of God’s people living in both the Old and New Testaments!  We cannot fully explain it … we usually do not see it unfolding before our eyes … but those of us who have lived enough years to build ‘experience’ … we can look back over our own lives and see the hand of God holding us ever so close to Him and caring for us!

The life of Joseph is almost a ‘larger-than-life’ story that occupies chapters 37-50 of the Book of Genesis!  But Joseph was a real man who experienced more in his young life than any man should have to face in an entire lifetime.

Yet, he faced it all and with God’s help, love and care, he would find himself, finally after some 22 years, facing the very brothers who wanted to kill him but were influenced by one of their number to sell him off to a traveling group of men … winding up in the land of Egypt.

The words of the conversation of the ‘great reveal’ recorded and preserved by the Spirit of God are among the verses of Scripture that quite simply … are unbelievable to read yet believable because the Bible tells us so.  Our all-knowing Heavenly Father wanted us to read … to see …how a person of God lives, loves, and forgives!

Please take the time today as you read of these events in Genesis 45:1-14, even if you are already familiar with the story.  May I urge you to carefully note the specific conversation that takes place in Genesis 45:4-5 …?

But I want us to back up just a bit to Genesis 43 where we find Joseph, the Prime Minister, has required his brothers to bring the youngest brother, Benjamin to his court.  And when this took place … well, you probably already know the story … but just as a refresher to each of us … focus on the words of Genesis 43:30-31.

Can you imagine with your mind’s eye what this episode must have looked like as it unfolded?  The fact of the business is … most of us, if not all of us … can identify with how Joseph must have felt at the very moment he saw Benjamin.  How very thankful we should be to God for recording and preserving this moment for our own lives!

As for me personally, I can identify with the event, perhaps even more than I would care to even admit!  And you?  We all cry … well most of us anyway.  Some will cry at the drop of a hat and even drop the hat.  Others … well … not so quickly!

Sometimes … we try our best to leave the room like Joseph before we break down and the tears start flowing!

Sometimes we make it … at other times we do not!

Sometimes we don’t even try to hold back!

Sometimes we have cried until we don’t think there are any more tears to shed, only to discover … oh yes … there are plenty more!

Sometimes in a phone conversation … the person on the other end … stops talking and is just quiet … the words don’t want to come out … but the tears sure do!

Are you giving thought to where this is all going?

Sometimes we hear a voice on the other end that we have longed to hear … you know the one … the one you love and miss talking with … and the tears of joy, happiness flow when you hear him/her!

Sometimes we just long to hear that voice … but the silence is just so deafening because no one is on the phone!

I am reminded often of a song recorded by the great guitarist, Eric Clapton, when he co-wrote the song “Tears In Heaven” following the death of his little boy. A song which resonated all around the world by people … people just like you and me!

Men like Job, David, Elijah … truly men of God … yet we find they were human, made from the same clay as each one of us … complete with all of the emotions that go with the package of a human being!

“Time can bring you down; time can bend your knees

Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging please.

 Beyond the door, there’s peace I’m sure

And I know there’ll be no more tears in heaven.”

But, we cannot entertain such sublime examples of other human-beings without considering the Son of God, the Son of man, Jesus Christ!  We are all familiar with John’s account of all the events surrounding the news of the death of His good friend, Lazarus recorded in John 11.

Jesus already knew Lazarus had passed away … but He made His way to Mary and Martha and John tells us that “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). And how could we forget Luke’s description of Jesus arriving at the City of Jerusalem where the events that would forever change the world were about to unfold. Luke tells us, “And when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it.” (Luke 19:41).

Yes, we are living in trying times, but in addition to the COVID challenges our world is facing … lives continue to go on … the seasons of life come and go … and tears are a part of life.

We cry when we are sad or mourning the loss of someone.  We cry when we are happy, sad, fearful, and alone!  Our Heavenly Father created us and made place for emotions.  And the wonderful takeaway from all of this is that our tears do not go unnoticed by our Maker who hears our every cry and who sees every tear we shed!

“You have kept count of my tossing’s; then put my tears in Your bottle.  Are they not in Your book? Then my enemies will burn back in the day when I call.  This I know, that God is for me.” (Psalm 56:8-9, ESV)

 It is figurative language of course, but the imagery is as clear as crystal!  Our great and loving Heavenly Father sees exactly what is going on in our world, in our hearts and in our lives!

One more thought that could include so many more is the description the Apostle John shares with us in Revelation 21:4 which reads, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And that, my friends, is God’s promise to those who choose to love and serve Him!

 Bill Fairchild, Jr.

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