Turning Points Magazine & Devotional

August 2020 Issue

A World in Tears

From the Current Issue

A World in Tears

A World in Tears

This month the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were expected to grab the world’s attention, and we’d planned to release our international edition of Turning Points to coincide with the Games. We thought you’d be interested in what Turning Point and its many avenues of ministry were doing in the lands represented by the athletes.

But an invisible enemy got in the way. As you well know, the world is reeling from a tiny virus, highly contagious, one that has inflicted untold physical and economic pain around the world. Many tears have been shed over the coronavirus and its reign of death, financial ruin, and social anxiety. I read about a 33-year-old woman who passed away from the virus on a Monday evening at 5 p.m. Her 70-year-old mother died from the same cause the next morning at 10:15 a.m. We’ve been inundated by stories like that, causing tears of sorrow to streak down the faces of individuals and families around the world.

Consider this: Tears often become trails to Christ. They can pave a way for spiritual healing. The God who invented tears is moved by them.

The media is focused on the way the virus has affected China, Europe, and the Americas. But the most widespread tragedy may be in developing nations without strong healthcare infrastructures. One editorialist said, “Tens of millions of people in poorer, less developed countries across the world face a looming catastrophe that appears as unstoppable as it is potentially lethal.”[1]

Who can count the tears shed and the pain felt? The BBC conducted an interview with a woman named “Hannah,” whose husband, John, contracted COVID-19. As his condition worsened, the couple’s rector called them. Since it was near their forty-third wedding anniversary, the couple renewed their vows. Then John’s breathing aids were removed, and he passed away.

“We are Christians and he was ready to go,” Hannah told the BBC. “[But] nobody can give me a hug. My friends have rallied around, my church and everybody have been fabulous, but nobody can give me a hug.”[2]

Hannah’s story left listeners in tears.

If there ever was a time when the world needed hope, grace, unity, and salvation, it’s now. According to the online version of the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, 31.4 percent of the world is Christian, at least in name. Muslims account for 23.2 percent, and 15 percent of earth’s population is Hindu. Those major religions dominate the world, but over 16 percent of the world is unaffiliated with a formal faith. Their religion is none.[3]

I like a sunny faith, but every sky has occasional bouts of rain.

Similarly, a recent report in Newsweek claims that Islam is the fastest-growing religion on earth and will challenge Christianity as the world’s largest faith by 2050. Those who study missionary trends, however, report “historically unprecedented Muslim movements to Christ” are taking place in our day. Untold numbers of Muslims are embracing Jesus Christ, often at the risk of their own lives. In America, on the other hand, Christianity is showing deep and frightening declines.[4]

Here’s my point—we have an unfinished task and a lot of glorious work ahead of us—especially now as the world weeps as we recover from all that has befallen us.

Consider this: Tears often become trails to Christ. They can pave a way for spiritual healing. The God who invented tears is moved by them. When Hezekiah was dying from an incurable disease, the Lord said, “I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you” (2 Kings 20:5). The psalmist said, “Put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?” (Psalm 56:8). Psalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

Someone called tears “liquid prayers,” and that’s often true.

The Spanish philosopher, Miguel Unamuno, coined a phrase—the common weeping. He wrote, “I am convinced that we should solve many things if we all went out into the streets and uncovered our griefs, which perhaps would prove to be but one sole common grief, and joined together in beweeping them and crying aloud to the heavens and calling upon God.”[5]

Pastor H. Stephen Shoemaker said, “American Christians and the American church tend to ignore the tragic side of life and suppress the Common Weeping. The Psalms do not. The Bible’s hymnbook is filled with laments where our common weeping is lifted to God. But we rarely read these psalms. Our hymnbooks used to have a number of lament-like hymns until we put them aside in favor of a sunnier spirituality.”[6]

I like a sunny faith, but every sky has occasional bouts of rain.

Pastor Sammy Burgess said, “Several years ago, I had eleven funerals in a span of three months. One day, I found myself in my office at the church, head in my hands, weeping. No one had said anything to hurt me; everything at the church was going very well. I was hurting. The tears were given to me by the Lord as a release valve. I could not hold in how I felt any longer.”

 

No Better Time

There’s no better time than now to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). Global Media Outreach documented last spring as the pandemic was growing, that there was a 170-percent increase in clicks on their search engine ads about finding hope.

We never know when the next pandemic will invade the earth, how severe it will be, or what worldwide event may occur in the future. Just imagine what would happen if the global Internet was attacked and taken down, even for one day. We’re living in pre-Revelation times, and we don’t know how long it will be before our Lord returns for His Church. In His sermon on the End of the Age in Matthew 24, Jesus said, “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing” (Matthew 24:46).

At Turning Point, we believe we’re living in the most optimized age in history for the spread of the Gospel. As you’ll see in the following pages, we have technologies no prior generation could imagine, and we’re not planning to quit until we’ve done everything possible to reach everyone possible. There’s no better time than now.

 

No Better Means

There’s also no better means for reaching the world than going forth with tears. The apostle Paul didn’t have the technologies we have, but he did have the tears. He told the Ephesians, “You now, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears” (Acts 20:18-19).

Psalm 126:5-6 says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

Dr. Joseph Parker said, “Tears are telescopes. I have seen further through my tears than ever I saw through my smiles…. Blessed be God, we can see Jesus through our tears. He knows what tears are. Jesus wept! The eyes that John saw as a flame of fire, the Jews at the grave of Lazarus saw as fountains of water…. Every one amongst us has tearful times. But we use our tears wrongfully if we do not lift up our eyes and look through them unto Jesus in the heavens!”[7]

 

No Better Mission

Furthermore, you’ll never find a better mission than to help fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission to take the Gospel to the world. Earlier this year, a woman in the Philippines named Grace became alarmed by the coronavirus and started searching online about it. She found a website about coronavirus fear that was hosted by an evangelistic association. As she spoke with a counselor, she gave her life to Christ. Back in the United States, a volunteer for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association led a woman to Christ who was worried sick about herself and her children. Only heaven will record how many people came to faith in Jesus Christ this year because of the direct or indirect effects of the coronavirus.

Turning Point is seeking to penetrate every region God directs us to and touch every possible soul with the message of Christ and with solid Bible teaching. We count on your support, and we’re grateful for your help even in a year when the world’s economy has tottered.

We’re living in a weeping world. You and I are God’s answers to its pain. Let’s weep with those who weep. And let’s weep for those who aren’t concerned enough to weep. God can convict them, and He often uses world events to draw people to Himself. You have a big role to fill. Let’s do it with moist eyes.

They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest (Psalm 126:6, NLT).

 

[1] “The Observer view on coronavirus, a tragedy with no clear end for poorer nations,” The Guardian, April 5, 2020.

[2] Hayley Richardson, “Radio 4 listeners are moved to tears,” Daily Mail, April 13, 2020.

[3] “People and Society: World,” The World Factbook, CIA, https://www.cia.gov/library-publications/the-world-factbook/.

[4] David Garrison, “Why More Muslims Are Turning to Jesus,” Newsweek, June 28, 2019, https://www.newsweek.com.

[5] Miguel de Unamuno, Tragic Sense of Life (New York: Casino Classics, 2005), 29.

[6] H. Stephen Shoemaker, “The ‘Uncommon Weeping’: Instead of airing our grievances, let’s uncover our griefs,” Baptist News Global, March 25, 2020.

[7] Dr. Joseph Parker, The People’s Bible (New York: Funk and Wagnall’s Company, 1923), 182.

More from Turning Point Radio

This is a Sample Title

1:37 / 3:48