“You know what is so hard about living through life now on the other side of Zach’s death?” I asked Marshall as he sat with me processing my grief a few mornings ago. I had another rough night sleeping, dreaming about all that was said and done. Rehearsing the events over and over. My heart and mind were spent. My emotions were stretched to their breaking point.
“You know why this is so hard? It’s because nothing is the same. Nothing! My thoughts are different, my body is different, I move differently. I feel differently. I hear differently. I see things differently. Everything has changed. Nothing is the same -
Even my tears.
When I cry now, my tears feel different. They feel heavy. They feel more substantive than just saline. These are not just any tears. These are tears of oil,” I said to him.
Then later that night I had a dream after this conversation with Marshall about my oily tears. I saw myself kneeling, arms outstretched, face up to the sky, tears streaming down my face and oil being poured out on my head from above.
This dream put meaning to my tears. This dream allowed my heart and mind to understand that yes, indeed my tears are now different. This was a picture to show my tears are now made up of Jesus’ anointing oil. Tears of anointing oil.
As I have reflected and wondered about these tears, my attention was drawn to the story in Luke of the sinful woman who entered Simon’s house, approached Jesus on her knees, and with her tears she washed his feet, dried them with her hair and poured perfumed, expensive oil on his feet.
Luke 7:37-38 says, “A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”
Has anyone else ever wondered how many tears it would have taken to wash Jesus’ dusty feet? I never thought much about it until now. I guess the desperation in my own heart and spirit for peace and comfort have allowed me to relate more closely with this story. I believe she did not just cry, but tears flowed from her, like a cup that is full but keeps being filled. There was no end to the number of tears she could have cried.
I believe the sinful woman’s eyes were opened to the beauty and awesomeness of Jesus' love available to her. She was overwhelmed by his grace and love. She was overwhelmed to a state of flowing tears that would anoint her Savior's feet.
In these moments, I feel the same awe that she must have felt. I am awed by the love, grace and goodness of Jesus. I am awed to tears, flowing tears. Jesus has anointed my head with the oil of comfort, strength, peace and hope. He has allowed these tears to feel heavy, like oil to get my attention and to show me that he is here with me, in the discomfort of everything being different.
Even with the brilliance and majestic nature of this picture of the woman washing Jesus’ feet, and my own dream of the oil being poured out, I am still uncomfortable with our new reality. I am uncomfortable with how different I feel. But the heaviness of my tears is the reassurance that God is pouring out his comfort and compassion on me. God understands the loss I feel more than anyone as he gave up his only son for my ransom.
He is with me in the heartache. He is with me still even as everyone else moves on, back to “normal”. He continues to pour out his oil as I continue to kneel before him, seeking solace and peace from the only one who gives it so completely. As the tears mix with the oil and flow down my cheeks my soul is soothed with his healing presence. What a sight. What a feeling. What a picture this has become for me of his redeeming grace.
We hear a lot in Christian circles that God doesn’t waste anything. He doesn’t waste our tears. In the Bible anointing oil was used to mark someone or something as “set apart”. I believe that God is using these tears to be set apart for a purpose.
In fact, what if our tears, our hardships, our struggles in this life are the very things that set us apart? What if they are the very things he uses to make us holy? What if all the challenges are the sharpening of our souls and spirits to lift us up to the calling he wants us to step into?
I hope that no matter what you are facing today that this picture of Jesus pouring out his comforting, anointing oil on me is a reminder to you that he will do the same for you. He is here for us, in our heart wrenching tears, to set us apart for a specific purpose that we could not fulfill without the trials we walk through.
As you go about the rest of the day, may you consider the struggles you are facing. Ask God to help you to see that He is using them for your good. He may not show you how he will use them or tell you why, but he will reassure you, to let you know that he is using every hurt, every heartache for our good.
Blessings to you today Hope Seeker. I pray that this week's blog touches a part of your heart that needs healing. I pray that it challenges you to embrace the pain you have been walking in, and that it encourages you to surrender to the loving arms of Jesus, where you will find comfort, hope, peace and love like no other can give.