Have you ever wiped away the tears of a stranger?
Today at church we had a young lady came up to the front during our prayer time. She and her partner, and their two babies, have been attending our church now for just two weeks. While holding one of her babies, this young lady confessed how hard and broken her life has been this last year: loss of loved ones, stress, tensions, and various personal crises. She broke down and began to cry, in front of our little church, standing there next to our pastor.
Suddenly, one of the ladies from our little congregation came forward with a tissue and wiped the tears from this young lady’s cheeks. And all of a sudden, the ladies of our congregation arose from their chairs and surrounded this woman and her infant. They began to pray for her, loving on her with their gentle prayers and comforting touches.
Their compassion was stunning. No one made them do this. No one coached them. They saw a young mama with a broken heart and they rose up to surround her with their fierce and tender love. There was no judgment in their actions or words. This woman was their daughter. This woman was their sister. This woman and her baby, though little known to most of them, was family.
It was stunning. Truly stunning. Once again, my definition of revival expanded.
Who are these women who are learning to love so well? There’s the one who recently celebrated one year clean after 10 years of devastating heroine addiction. There’s the one who was beaten by her boyfriend, dumped in a field and left for dead and had to crawl on her hands and knees to find help. There’s the one who has suffered through addiction and multiple toxic marriages riddled with infidelity. There’s the one who worked faithfully at a car manufacturer for over 30 years and raised two daughters by herself. There’s the one who travels to a third world nation every year with her husband to serve missionaries and local ministries for three weeks. There’s the one whose marriage was recently restored… And the list goes on and on.
What we all have in common is that each of our lives were changed by the Man from Nazareth. A Man who rescued us from incredible brokenness and restored our souls. And because He loved us so well, we are learning to love. We are learning to wipe each other’s tears…even when they belong to a stranger.
Isaiah 61 came alive in my spirit this morning while I was watching this beautiful scene.
We are the ones that "will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” And at least in our little church, on the corner of North Burdick and Paterson, we’re beginning by gently wiping away one tear at a time.
Our city is being rebuilt.