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  • Pastoral Staff

A Bottle of Tears

It was over a year ago that I spent half of a week in training for crisis management as part of my duties as chaplain of the Winfield Fire and EMS Department. The work was long and detailed, and I’m grateful for the strategies I learned. First responders are trained to go into high-stress situations in a moment’s notice, and what happens in the minutes after a disaster is crucial. However, I learned that the hours and days after such an incident are also important.

Without going into too much detail, the human body is designed to handle high-stress situations. I am always constantly amazed at the beauty and intricacies of the human body. Without a doubt, it was designed well. In the most intense moments the body is flooded with adrenaline and other hormones that come with some useful benefits. Our awareness is raised; our senses are heightened. In other words, we go into emergency mode where our body is ready for anything at any time. But while the body is designed to respond to high-stress situations in such a quick, dramatic way, it is not designed to operate like that for long periods of time. So, in the instance of a first responder, the hours and days after a stressful incident are important in terms of healing.  All those stress-induced hormones need to go somewhere once they’re no longer needed, and there are three ways the body gets rid of them. You can flush them out through hydration and the subsequent trips to the bathroom. You can sweat them out through intense workout. Or you can cry them out. All three ways – flushing, sweating and crying – are perfectly normal responses the body is designed to use in healing from a high-stress situation. And it’s important that we don’t withhold these opportunities from our bodies. It’s that last method – crying – that I encountered in my morning reading of the Psalms. When we cry, God is not only aware of it; he’s even closer than that. You yourself have kept track of my misery. Put my tears into your bottle – aren’t they on your scroll already? Psalm 56:8 (CEB) The idea that God has a bottle that he uses to collect our tears and a journal to write down each time one is shed is beautiful and comforting. When we cry, which our bodies are designed to do, we are not alone. The God of the universe, who created each one of us, won’t let a single tear fall to the ground.  And if you’re in need of sweating, flushing or crying today, know that you’re doing what God designed you to do, and He’s right there with you as you do it. May the Lord bless you and keep you, Pastor Billy

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