This post was written by Aaress Lawless, a team member on Compassionate Hope’s recent trip to Thailand. It was first published on DuoParadigms.com.
Have you ever thought about the stories that could be told if only tissues could talk?
Some stories we might not want to hear….nor want others to hear about us. But some stories should be told. Some stories need to be told.
I found myself pondering this very question today in Thailand. We had just wrapped up shooting interviews for the day, and I went back to our makeshift “studio” under a patio. Nothing remained as evidence of the stories that had been tearfully, prayerfully, and agonizingly shared during the day.
Except for a wadded up piece of tissue.
It was the only piece left present, but it was certainly not the only tissue that had been used in that spot over the past two days.
Melanie and I have had the incredible privilege of helping document the stories and testimonies of persecuted Christians from Thailand and other parts of Asia. They have been filled with heart-wrenching first hand accounts of torture, imprisonment, and even death. But through it all, one amazing thread weaved between all of the women’s accounts; that of their undying love for their Savior and His all-sufficient grace to endure any trial.
Oh, how I wish the tissues which were used could talk. They would tell you so many life changing stories.
They would tell you about a faithful wife who visited her imprisoned pastor husband in jail, bringing him some sticky rice. And in the rice were hidden bits of Scripture verses written on paper.
You would learn about a housewife who bravely welcomes Christians into her home in a country closed to the Gospel of Christ. She is already planning for how to accommodate her extra guests during this Christmas season. While the rest of us are busy finishing up our Christmas shopping, she will be removing some of the walls in her meager home so she can have more space.
Another tissue would recount the tears of a wife who lost her husband as a martyr. Those tears would tell you about the horror of having him murdered so brutally that he was pierced through the heart and had his neck nearly severed. But it is unfathomable to see what is missing from those tears. Not one ounce of bitterness was present. In fact, her prayers are for the salvation of the man who murdered her husband. She knows who he is—–and she is faithfully praying that this man will come to Jesus.
There was also the mother of adult children who refuse to renounce their faith in Christ. And because of it, they have been ostracized by their community’s work force. Her tears were a request for prayer that her children could find jobs to meet their family’s needs.
A final tissue could tell you about another echoing thread between the stories. A plea for God’s people in America to not forget their suffering brothers and sisters overseas. Those tears serve as a reminder that we are one body, one family. Brothers and sisters with one Father.
But while tissues can’t talk so tears can be heard, we do serve a loving, gracious Heavenly Father who not only sees and hears the hurts of our hearts, but weeps right alongside of us.
And He doesn’t just weep.
He captures our tears in a bottle and He sends His other children to the hurting ones, so that they can be His loving hands and feet in the midst of a hating, damaged, painful world.
He sends arms to hold the hurting. Eyes to cry with the suffering. Feet to walk alongside of the burdened on this difficult journey we call life. Lips to encourage and exhort them to remain faithful, no matter the cost.
“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3