Vale of Tears

Sharing more of the Father's Grief



Sharing more of the Father’s Grief

Can I see another’s woe and not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief and not seek for kind relief?
William Blake

Every experienced counsellor faces the challenge that if they give themselves wholeheartedly to someone, they risk being sucked into an emotional vortex that will leave them as weighed down as the people they are trying to help. If they remain too aloof, however, they may find themselves unable to reach the person’s heart.

It causes the Lord much heartache when His perfect Love is rejected by the people on whom He has set His heart. How can we draw closer to Him this way? By allowing our sufferings to develop in us a deeper compassion. Just as we have been at pains throughout this book to emphasise the importance of giving full expression to our grief, so we are in true biblical tradition when we cry out to the Lord from the bottom of our heart and at the top of our voice for the things we are most concerned about.

In his powerful chapter “Wrestling Match,” Philip Yancey outlines the urgent and indeed abrupt nature of the prayers of many of the saints as they struggle with perplexing griefs and sufferings. If this at times this makes them sound decidedly discourteous rather than meek and reverent, Yancey argues that God infinitely prefers people to deal with Him directly than to remain indifferent.6

May I encourage you to spend quality time in the company of the prophets? The writings of the prophets steep us in the Lord’s presence and perspective in a way we will undoubtedly need in the uncertain times that lie ahead. It is in these all too often undiscovered parts of the Bible that we hear God sharing His longings and griefs, may I urge you to find modern translations and insightful commentaries that bring these Scriptures to life, which will draw you more fully into their world?7

Reflect and Pray

Lord Jesus,
just as You mourned over the multitudes
because You saw them as sheep
without a shepherd:
let me share more of what You are feeling –
even when You are mourning;
I aspire to join in spirit with that
pantheon of heroes and heroines,
who in every time and clime,
have trod the path to glory:
from the saints of ancient Rome;
through a thousand prison cells,
where precious souls are bruised
beneath a hail of deadly accusation.

Draw me closer to Your heart
so that I can take a prophetic stance
as I pray and interact
with nations (. . .)
communities (. . .)
and professions (. . .)

May I share the same love and passion for them that I feel for my own friends and family.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.


6 Yancey, P. (2006) Prayer. Does it make any difference? Hodder and Stoughton.
7 For an introductory overview, see the section on the Prophets in David Pawson’s Unlocking the Bible. Collins 2003

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