Advent Reflection – Raining Tears

As often happens in life, one day there’s a party and the next there is grief. The other day there was a party and all felt sunny. One day later, the sky was the grey of winter and rain fell steadily. As I was walking to my local drug store I walked over cigarette butts, paper leaflets trapped in puddles, and wet leaves mixed together on the sidewalk, all evidence of life in a city. I was glad for the rain falling on my cheeks; it gave me grace to weep tears that I didn’t want seen in public but came on like a sudden summer storm. I felt like I was raining tears.

All around me I saw evidence of a world broken. It was in the glum, moodiness of passers-by. It was in the grocery cart pushed by the homeless woman, piled high with bottles and filthy blankets. It was in the impatient honking of a car, angry at the vehicle in front of him. Had the vehicle kept on moving, it would have hit two people in the cross walk – and then there would have been more brokenness.

The tears had come from looking at a set of 45 images that represented this past year. Almost every picture was evidence of sadness, loss of life, and a shattered world. As the tears flowed I asked the age-old question: Are you good, God? In the midst of all of this, are you good? It was raining tears as I asked the question.

And so I went back through the images. Could I find even a glimpse of redemption in any of these pictures? Could I see something that sparked hope? I resolved that when I got home I would look through the pictures again with the a different lens, a redemptive lens.

Instead of just seeing coffins, destruction, and crisis I saw beyond the images, to the sidelines or back stage. In the midst of death, was mourning – redemptive evidence of someone who loved. In the midst of buildings ripped from the ground from a tornado was a person – redemptive evidence of a life spared. In the middle of sadness was the redemptive and inexplicable joy that comes from human connection. One image showed Christians guarding Muslims as they prayed in Tahrir Square, ensuring no one was disrupted –  a redemptive image of compassion and care that could transcend different belief systems.

The tears continued to fall but they became redemptive tears renewing my vision and enabling me to see the marks and manifestation of God=breathed redemption.  

7 thoughts on “Advent Reflection – Raining Tears

    1. Thanks mj. I’m actually in Cairo, Egypt right now and having to remind myself of the post as I look out over the millions of people in this city that live in circumstances that would finish me in a day. Then I think of the redemption of resilience. Thanks so much for reading and joining the conversation!

      Sent from my iPhone


      1. Oh, yes, I know you’re in Egypt … much more eye opening than anything on tv to see it face-to-face! God has given you tremendous compassion. I’m not sure I would have the heart to see what you see amidst the circumstances you encounter. By the grace of God go you!


  1. Very powerful, Marilyn, and very much in keeping with my own feelings at times.
    Jesus wept!!! That’s how he felt too.

    If it’s not too late this is the blog I’d like to enter in the “competition”.


    1. I would be so happy for you to participate! Thank you – and thanks for the comment. I feel the same way – and loved what Bettie Addleton wrote as well about the healing effects of tears. They just seem to be an important part of our lives as we grow.


  2. Thank you Marilyn for this insightful blog. Sadness, grief, pain, disappointment, pleasure, joy, happiness, and other emotions turn on the tears. We cry at weddings and we cry at funerals. Like torrents of rain or an uncontrollable flood, and even slow and haltingly, they flow, bringing cleansing and as you say redemption. I have chronic dry eyes, a condition when the eye is unable to produce tears. It is not healthy. My vision is affected. For good eyesight, the production of tears is necessary. I think it was in Syria that we saw some interesting little bottles in a museum. We asked the guide about them and were told that they were bottles to collect tears from those who mourned. Bring on the tears for they have redemptive quality.


    1. I had never thought about this – but it’s so true. That the eyes need tears in order to have good eyesight. What a great analogy to needing tears to help our spiritual eyesight. I love your story of Syria and the bottles to collect the tears. “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted”.


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