Recently I’ve been reading Liz Carter’s new book, Treasures in the Dark, a mixture of poetry and prose, written whilst she was shielding during the national lockdown earlier this year. Her poetry is so expressive and the sections of the book are divided into the seasons of the year, each piece pointing to the hope we have in Jesus.
Liz lives with a chronic lung condition, thus why she was shielding. Her 1st book, Catching Contentment, was written out of living with this condition as a Christian who hasn’t yet fully experienced God’s healing but has found ways to know God’s presence and some contentment through it all.
Reading her Easter poems from her Treasures in Dark Places book, I was drawn to Friday, expressing the pain of Christ’s crucifixion seen through the eyes of a disciple:
We weep for you
our tears are our food
day and night
our souls wrenched apart
shards of desolation pierce our hearts
Yet you capture our tears
gather the great oceans of them blend them with your own
you shoulder our agonies
and you sit inside them with us you are torn for us
but ‘do not weep,’ you say, ‘take courage,’ you whisper.
We join in the groaning of all creation dive into echoes of exultation
ache for the song of restoration
and wait with fragments of tear-washed hope.
The second line of the first verse is based on Psalm 42 : 3 where an upset King David is thirsting after God , crying out to the one who saves for help. How often do I come to God in the difficult times? Cry out to Him for all that I feel, lament and mourn? It’s so easy to look to other people or things first for comfort, yet God knows what we need, before we even ask.
The second verse starts with:
“Yet you capture our tears
gather the great oceans of them
blend them with your own
you shoulder our agonies
and you sit inside them with us.”
These words leapt out at me when I first read them and were a great comfort in a difficult time, coming to terms with some bad news for a loved one. That Jesus is with us in our sorrow and pain, sitting with us and catching our teardrops is a strong reminder that he understands even our negative emotions and sits with us through them. We are not alone, no matter how we might feel or what we are enduring.
The news I had received had pulled out all kinds of emotions after initial numbness: positive and sad memories, guilt and a rawness and vulnerability that came from deep within. I had to bring all I was feeling and thinking to God and surrender the pain into His hands to relieve the burden and ask for His wisdom for how to act moving forward.
There is hope that there will be a time when God will wipe away every tear (Revelation 21) and there will be an end to our suffering when we leave this life behind. This brings comfort in the here and now, despite what is being thrown at me. Jesus in his death knows the pain and hurt that the world has endured for all of time. He knows the full and unfathomable weight of that burden and remained faithful to it, even to a death He didn’t deserve on the cross – fully man, yet fully God. It’s mind blowing, a mystery but also brings liberation and peace to a hurting a wounded world.
Is there any pain you need to bring to God today? Remember that He ‘catches our tears and sits with us, no matter how great that hurt may be.
Liz’s new book, Treasure in Dark Places, is available from Christian bookshops, Waterstones and online at Amazon. For more information about her book and where to buy it, click here.