My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within; my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city. Lamentations 2:11
So, are you saying we’re supposed to just sit around and cry about how bad the world is? Aren’t we supposed to do something about it? What on earth are we here (on earth) for, anyway?
In other words, “Well, that’s fine, but how does all this grieving change anything? We have a world to win, why should we waste our time lamenting?”
First of all, the intimate connection we have with God when we join him in the “fellowship of his sufferings,” empowers us to intercede for sufferers and to serve them. We’re poised to receive his redemptive remedies for other weeping sufferers when we allow ourselves to feel more of what he feels – both his joys and his sorrows.
We who pray with tears tend also to “sow in tears” (Psalm 126). When we groan over our broken world we harmonize with the Spirit who groans over a groaning creation (Romans 8). Our duet with the Spirit doesn’t end there. That’s just the first stanza of our song together. Our song crescendos in the dynamic refrain when the “Spirit and the Bride say ‘Come!’” (Revelation 22)
Secondly, our weeping makes the world a better place as it endears us to other weepers, lost weepers in particular. You know the definition of evangelism – “one beggar telling other beggars where to find bread.” The idea that we go out into the world as Steve or Sylvia Stunning with all the solutions to all the world’s problems is not only overrated, it’s not real. Plus, it repulses rather than attracts people to Jesus!
Give people a little more credit. They know that we don’t know all there is to know and that our sanitized version of faith doesn’t wrap all the world’s absurdities in a nice neat package. When, as fellow travellers, we weep together, the credibility and believability of our witness increases rather than decreases.
Lastly, when we weep, particularly over the world’s depravity, we do so out of our connectivity with the depraved. That is to say, even the saved are sinners too, saved sinners, still very much a part of this sinful world. We may be citizens of heaven but we live on earth with the same proclivity to disappoint the Lord as they do. As did the prophets, we must confess our solidarity with fellow sinners and repent on their behalf, if not alongside them. “What? Repent of their sins?” Well, yes, since in a real sense, they’re our sins.
As saved-yet-still-sinful people we repent of things we may not have personally perpetrated yet we bear the burden in solidarity with our fellow humans. As we share humanity with them we lament and we repent.
How can we intercede, that is pray for others who either don’t know to pray for themselves or don’t care to or dare to pray for themselves if we don’t first put ourselves in their shoes? Otherwise we pray send-down-fire prayers rather than come-down-Jesus prayers. I’ve heard more than my quota of those kinds of prayers and I suspect the Lord has too.
Spirit, fall like a dove upon us all. Help us all to see and know Jesus. When you come, bring the kingdom of the Father!
Talk to us. Is this making sense? Does anyone have a better way of framing this or saying this? This is sort of new to me and I’d love to hear your thoughts.