I knew it was time to speak. We sat in her warm car on an uncharacteristically freezing cold South Carolina winter day. Even without the engine running and heat on, however, her car was warm. I had just finished getting the chill out of my bones by holding my hands around a hot cup of caffeine-free pumpkin spice tea. I wasn’t about to stand outside and get cold all over again, especially given how quickly and easily I can get cold.
“I’ve already confessed this to God,” I began. “But I think I need to tell a person also.” The Bible talks about confessing our faults to God for forgiveness and cleansing, and to one another for prayer and healing. I needed to be heard. I obviously needed more prayer, not that people haven’t gone to exceeding lengths through the years to pray for me. And I needed more healing, not that I haven’t undergone such tremendous healing by the grace of God through the years already. It was simply time for more. More prayer, and more healing.
So I began to speak. My head was down. I could not look her in the eye. Not right away, and not for any length of time even when I did. I could barely speak the words. Something from so long ago. Something that still affects me now. Something that would affect anyone this many years later because that’s just the nature of a beast like that. It leaves life-long repercussions. But then, it can also result in life-long opportunities – to minister to others with an understanding nobody would have but one who has walked in those very same shoes.
I often have much to say, but this time I had very little. I also knew I didn’t have much time. My friend had a kids’ basketball game to get to. And I wasn’t about to spend an inordinate amount of time sharing about something this hard to talk about.
As I spoke, I looked up at my dear friend for just a moment. But that moment was just long enough to see something that to me was incredulous.
A single tear fell quietly down her face as she listened to me speak from the deep interior of my heart.
I looked back down again and finished what I needed to say. I had looked upward for just long enough.
I have struggled with an old sin again lately, but that was the easier part of what I shared in those brief minutes with my friend. It breaks my heart to sin against the Lord, that goes without saying given the heights and depths of how much I love the Lord. And it breaks my heart to ever – even for a moment – hurt anyone, or anything God has created. That, for me, is hard enough to come to grips with. Yet the difficult part of what I shared that day with my friend is what the Lord has shown me is at least in part at the root of that besetting sin. Something from long ago.
My friend did not just sit there in the driver’s seat of her car with listening ears. She sat by my side with a seeing heart.
And in that brief moment I mustered up the courage to look over at her, what I saw humbled and astounded me.
That single tear that rolled its way down her beautiful face quenched my desire to not be alone with what I carried. For my friend bore my burden with me. And together we carried that burden up to the Lord.
That tear was not just my friend’s making its way down her face. That tear was mine. For my friend, she cried my tears. And she bore with me my burden.
And, though there is more, much more, inside the depths of my heart that awaits to be carried up to the Lord, that could use confession to a friend and prayers for further healing, that tear marked a new beginning – as well as an end.
No longer will I cry my tears alone. For into the light my heart comes – where God’s gentle hand holds my heart and reminds me He hears. He knows. He understands. He answers the crying of hearts. Often He answers straight from His throne in heaven without any help at all from His children. And sometimes, like this time, He sends one of His loving kids to share a burden and cry a sister’s tears.
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 KJV
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” Galatians 5:16 NASB
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 NASB