Guitarist, singer, and songwriter, Ryan Stevenson, knows a thing or two about loss and grief. According to songfacts.com, “He was very close to his mother, and he credits her as the one who really nurtured his music through her prayers and support. An only child, the Idaho-based songwriter was devastated when she died of bone cancer on October 3, 2009. Phyllis Stevenson was just 57 years old. He released “When We Fall Apart” exactly 10 years after his mom’s passing. The lyrics are the last words she spoke to her son. He explained:
“Even in the face of imminent death, she was pouring out wisdom and words of healing and encouragement to me that it’s OK to cry, it’s OK to grieve, it’s OK to fall apart. We are all going to experience loss at some point to some degree. This song has been my way of working through and navigating one of the most painful storms of my life.”
Down here on planet earth, there will always be a need to cling to some “thing” or Someone, especially when the rug is pulled out from under us. And this side of heaven, we’ll never know why a lot of things happen like they do, but God gave us many coping mechanisms, like our tear ducts.
According to answersingenesis.com, “One amazing discovery is that tear production may actually be a way to aid a person to deal with emotional problems. This finding lends some basis to the expression, ‘To cry it out helps a person feel better.’ Scientific studies have found that after crying, people actually do feel better, both physically and physiologically—and they feel worse by suppressing their tears.”
Besides the natural release of tears, God wants you and me to cling to Him. If you ask what that truth is based on, let’s turn to the book authored by the man who was regarded as the depressed prophet. In the thirteenth chapter of Jeremiah we learn that God gave him a strange job, among many others. Jeremiah tells the story best:
“This is what the Lord said to me: Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not wash it.” Then the Lord gave me another message: “Take the linen belt you are wearing, and go to the Euphrates River.” Hide it there in a hole in the rocks.” A long time afterward, the Lord said to me, “Go back to the Euphrates and get the linen belt that I told you to hide there.” So I went to the Euphrates and dug it out of the hole where I had hidden it. But now it was mildewed and falling apart. The belt was useless.
Then I received this message from the Lord: The Lord says: This illustrates how I will rot away the pride of Judah and Jerusalem. These wicked people refuse to listen to me. They stubbornly follow their own desires and worship idols. Therefore, they will become like this linen belt—good for nothing!
As a belt clings to a person’s waist, so I created Judah and Israel to cling to me,” says the Lord.” (13: 1,3,6-11a, NLT, emphasis mine)
Cling to Him. That’s what God wants. And you may say, yeah, but that’s asking a lot! Is it? Some folks think those three words “Cling-to-me” implies sticking to God in a robotic fashion without emotion. Well, we already know that’s not true because He gave us tear ducts. But going a step further, He wants you and I to bring our tears to Him because He does something unique with them.
You see in His economy, no loss, no emotional experience of grief is wasted or spent. So what does God do with our tears?
David answers that question. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (56:8, NLT)
For people who admit that they refuse to cling to God, a legitimate question to ask them is, “How is that working?” What man makes breaks. God never asks us to deny what and how we are feeling. He just wants us to bring those tearful emotions to Him. That is one of many ways we can cling—to—Him. To do so is to demonstrate “your” faith. What are the options?
pictures courtesy of pexels.com except Jeremiah book cover courtesy of “Nelson & his Nikon”
click below to watch music video of Ryan Stevenson’s “When We Fall Apart“