Advent devotions: December 13th
By Enrique Cuevas-Castillo
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.
The psalmist reminds us that, although we live with the joy of the Lord, and his mercies are new each morning, tears are also a reality in the life of the believer. Jesus never promised a life free of affliction and tears, but he did promise us a life that is victorious over problems: “I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33). So what can we do when we are faced with painful situations?
I grew up thinking that money was used for two things: saving or spending. I either put my money in my piggy bank or I bought material goods. As an adult, I have realized that there is a third option: investing the money to obtain returns. God encourages us to carry out this third option with our tears and our pain. He doesn’t want us to keep back or avoid our tears, nor does he want us to squander them. Instead, God wants us to invest them by offering them in prayer to him so that they produce returns of joy, of character, and of maturity in our life.
Have you ever viewed tears as an investment? We have a God to whom we can pour out our tears, our frustrations, and our pain because he understands us and transforms us through them. These days of Advent remind us that we have a God who became flesh, who came into this world and experienced suffering, affliction, and pain. Advent also reminds us that this affliction gives a return of salvation and eternal life for those who believe.
Just as the return doesn’t happen overnight, the tears that we pray before God will take time to bear the fruit of joy, character, and hope. But we are assured that, by sowing our tears in Christ, we will reap the fruit of justice with rejoicing.
Prayer: Holy Father, I remember and give you thanks for sending Jesus, your beloved Son, the man of sorrows. Through him, you justified and took away the iniquities of your people. Through your Holy Spirit, help us to pour out our tears and sadness in your presence, knowing that you understand us, console us, and strengthen us. Amen.
Enrique Cuevas-Castillo is pastor of Iglesia Alas de Aguila, an RCA church plant in Allendale, Michigan.