The scenes in news reports in recent days have been heartbreaking. The terrible acts being carried out in Ukraine are tragic and criminal. Faced with such tragedy, the innate reaction of the human heart is to feel sorrow. Humans are emotional creatures – a trait that we share with our creator.
In fact, almost every time God is described in the Bible, it is with some mention of how He feels. We see Him expressing approval, joy and sorrow, wrath and indignation, love and compassion. Of all these outpourings of Divine emotion, crying is one of the most sacred.
“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).
We don’t see a mention of God storing up our laughter, He doesn’t even collect our praises. Yet He carefully saves and records each tear of sorrow.
“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (Jesus, John 14:9).
While the old testament is full of declarations about God’s compassion, the clearest picture of God’s nature is shown in Jesus. Jesus was no stranger to tears. He wept when Lazarus died (John 11:35), He wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41), and the book of Hebrews says that he often prayed to His father with ‘fervent cries and tears,’ (Hebrews 5:7).
Paul admonishes us to: ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep’ (Romans 12:5), reflecting the cry of God’s own heart.
Jesus even said of the Holy Spirit’s coming: “I will send another Comforter” (John 14:16, KJV). Another translation of this Greek word is Consoler. It’s the Holy Spirit who shows to us the will and heart of God. As God’s Consoler, it is the Spirit who comes alongside us in our deepest grief.
We are certainly called to provide practical help to those in need. Faith that doesn't inspire good works is dead faith. Yet God knows that there are also times when the human spirit needs far more than physical provision. Sometimes our greatest need is a need to be comforted. When our hearts need to be consoled and we long for God's embrace.
Those are the times when God comes alongside -- when He just cries with us.
Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Ukraine.