Tag Archives: Ecclesiastes 3:4

Turning tears into prayers

From tears to prayers

From tears to prayers

Daniela, our longtime yet still young friend from Bolivia, shared this image with us. It takes the Spanish word for crying, LLORA, and converts it to ORA, meaning to pray. It says,

“When you are sad, turn your tears to prayer!

The message is taken from the time when Jesus said,  “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed,“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:38-39)

We’ve all experienced pain and suffering to some degree. Whether light or intense, and whether it is our own pain or the pain we feel for someone else, it always feels like a heavy burden. Have you ever been “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death?” Certainly, Jesus knows the depth of your pain and mine. We are not alone in our sorrow, not without hope. Though tears overcome us and we feel completely overwhelmed, we are not left to despair – if we turn our tears into prayer.

We see David, who God called “a man after my own heart,” doing this. David was relentlessly and persistently pursued by his enemies. They pressed down upon him from all directions, threatening to take his life. As we shared Psalm 63 with a dying friend, he agreed his life felt like that; the armies of cancerous cells were encamped all around, not only threatening but promising to take his life. Like David, we cry out, “How long O Lord? How long will you wait to vanquish my foes? How long until you redeem my sorrow? How long until you bring me home? And yet I will trust you. And yet I will still praise you, for you are the Lord my God, my refuge and my salvation.”

Tears flow and we think they fall needlessly and meaninglessly to the floor. But that’s not so. Our loving God who sees us where we are, catches each one of our tears.

“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

God doesn’t waste pain. It becomes a megaphone that demands our attention and he uses it to draw us closer to him. He takes note of not only some, but all your tears. He records them in his book. He pays attention not only to our troubles but to how we respond to them. He sees our faith in action, turning tears into prayers – and prayers into thanksgiving.

There is “A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4) Turning our tears into prayers invites laughter and dance and brings hope to the sorrow. May such contented joy be yours. 



Learning to laugh


Carol Burnett just received her Lifetime Achievement Award. What a well deserved honor! She and Tim Conway, and Red Skelton before them, committed their lives to making people happy. That’s not a bad legacy to leave, don’t you agree?


Life is serious business. But wholesome laughter is good medicine for our soul. And the bible has quite a bit to say about having a joyful spirit. One of the “fruits” of a spirit-filled life is joy. Joy should naturally blossom from the love God gives us to share with others. Do you know that God rejoices over you? We’re often so hard on ourselves, thinking we’re not good enough. But God has adopted us into his family and made us heirs of his kingdom. Regardless of how you feel, you might as well face the truth: God loves his children and is filled with joy over them, including you. Psalm 16:11 reminds us that there is joy in God’s presence. So why are we so eager to let everything else get in the way our most prized joy? The closer you grow to God, the more joy and fulfillment you will experience!


I like the expression in Psalm 126:2. “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” Can you help but smile when you recall how very many ways God has intervened to save and bless his people? Expecting God will show up in your day should bring certain joy and cause for celebration. I wonder how many small things we let frustrate us when a better response would be to laugh it off.  Solomon reminds us (Ecclesiastes 3:4), “there is a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” If the wisest man in all the world recognized this, shouldn’t we also join in the celebration of life? Only in the power of God can we rejoice in our trials. Only by the faithful promise of Jesus can we accept, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” Our troubles will not always plague us. He who catches our tears in a bottle will cause us to laugh again one day.


““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! (Some versions say, Be of good cheer!) I have overcome the world.” John 16:33


Learn to laugh more. Help others to laugh. If God is filled with joy and laughter, shouldn’t we be like him?


“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” We can rejoice, because regardless of the burdens we face, because God Almighty sees us where we are, he stays with us always, and we will live in the house of the Lord forever! Be blessed in being filled with his joy and hope!


Watch Carol Burnett’s humble acceptance speech for her lifetime achievement award: http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/01/carol-burnetts-speech-at-the-sag-awards-is-gold.html


On The Lighter Side

We continue to ponder the depths of our discussions with the Medical team at the University of Iowa yesterday concerning our limited options to treat this Leukemia. It was a lot of weighty information to process. (More to follow.) But God gave us both sufficient strength for the day (and today too) compared to my weaker days of the past week. We give thanks for that. And in the midst of the heavy discussions there were lighter times, even greatly needed laughter.

“Does this cancer make me look old?”
I encountered someone this week who I hadn’t seen for a long time. At first they didn’t recognize me without my hair. I asked them, “Do you think my bald head makes me look older?” “Well, yes I think it does,” she replied. We laughed at the honesty of friends.

But I’m not completely convinced. After all, this chemo makes me kind of feel like a teenager…I only have to shave once every couple weeks or so…if that. Those 14 whiskers that survived are very slow to grow!

I looked at my bride over the restaurant table yesterday and, contemplating the calorific menu items said, “The good thing about cancer is you can eat whatever you want!” (Except fresh fresh fruit and veggies)

Chemo brain is a term used to describe a physiological phenomenon that causes the patient to experience a loss for words or words are sometimes interchanged. Last night I told Marcia I was thinking about some of “the funniest life events in my imagination.” (I meant ‘in my memory‘.) As I write this I wonder if some of the funniest moments of life ARE in my imagination! 🙂

As it turned out, the funny moments in our life weren’t so prominent in our memory (or imagination). They are however, like the seams of your shirt. They don’t draw much attention but they certainly are essential to the structure of things.

Whatever numbers you are crunching, whatever heavy load you carry, whatever fears may visit your door, whatever relationship strains you experience, may you find the strength to laugh, and the joy of knowing that circumstances do not determine your response to them.

“(There is)…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” Ecclesiastes 3:4