Tears create a place of welcome...


"You keep track of all my sorrows;
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book."
~Psalm 56:8

The Tears of the Father

The father in the story of the prodigal son suffered much. He saw his younger son leave, knowing the disappointments, rejections and abuses facing him. He saw his older son become angry and bitter, and was unable to offer him affection and support. A large part of the father's life has been waiting. He could not force his younger son to come home or his older son to let go of his resentments. Only they themselves could take the initiative to return.

During these long years of waiting the father cried many tears and died many deaths. He was emptied out by suffering. But that emptiness had created a place of welcome for his sons when the time of their return came. We are called to become like that father."

Henri Nouwen-Bread for the Journey

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What makes your heart ache? What has brought tears? Could you possibly believe that the One who is acquainted with sorrows and griefs is fully aware and doing a deeper work in you than you can imagine, or even manufacture, for yourself? Today, take hope that any emptying in you will lead to a spacious place of welcome - both for God and others. As Augustine said, "God gives where he finds empty hands."

This desert/Valley of Achor will lead to a door of hope (Hosea 2:14-15)

Oh Lord, help me today to receive

this emptying

with hope that you alone

could turn it into a spacious place -

a place of welcome,

perhaps even celebration.

Gift me, please, with a sense of your nearness

as the Suffering Servant; Suffering Father; Suffering Spirit.

~Amen

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