Befriending Our Tears


Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

—John 20:11–12

Each of us does sit next to a pool of tears. As you read my words you are sitting beside your pool; and as I write these words, I am seated next to mine. Our pools are different. Some are deeper; some are muddier. Some have been caused by what has been done to us; some are the result of our own doing. These pools remind us of the grief and losses that we have experienced through our lives. It might have been the death of a loved one, the pain of divorce, abuse as a child, the unmet longing for a partner, the loss of a job, or a rejection by a close friend. There are many different kinds of pools -- the list goes on and on. ...

But tears don’t have to end in sadness and pain. As different as our pools of tears may be, they can lead us into a new space of change and growth. If we allow our tears to tell their stories, they can become the means by which our lives are transformed. Whether they flow down our cheeks or represent our cries for help -- the silent needs of our grieving and broken hearts -- our tears have the potential to become the agents of resurrection and newness. We learn this truth when we think more deeply about the encounter between the risen Jesus and Mary Magdalene on that first Easter morning.

When we find Mary standing outside the tomb, she is weeping. Two days earlier, she had seen the person whom she loved dearly, the one who had released her from her torment, put to death on a cross. No doubt his death had left her confused, numb, and desperate. Ever since the initial encounter when Jesus had freed her (Luke 8:2), her whole life had revolved around him. The Gospel accounts bear witness to the fact that she had followed him around Galilee. She had been at the foot of the cross. She had accompanied his crucified body to the tomb in Joseph’s garden. Then, early on Sunday morning, she had gone with a small group of women to the tomb. To their great distress, they found the stone rolled away and the body of Jesus gone. Soon afterward Peter and John arrived, only to depart and leave Mary alone in the garden, standing beside her pool of tears.

I invite you to glimpse the promise hidden in your pool of tears. Those tears hold the promise of new beginnings.


Become quiet for a few moments and imaginatively join Mary as she stands weeping outside the tomb. Envision yourself meeting Mary in the garden, her eyes and yours filled with tears. Go together across to the open tomb, look inside, and slowly take in what you see. Witness the intriguing emptiness of the grave ... the grave clothes neatly folded ... the shroud and napkin lying separately.

Now stand for a moment at your own pool of tears and reflect on it in the light of this resurrection picture. Weep if you need to. Allow this Easter-morning scene to deepen your belief that, on the other side of your brokenness, grief, and loss lie the possibilities of new beginnings.

In what ways can you identify with Mary as she stands weeping outside the tomb?
What would it mean for you to look up to God through your tears and hope for new beginnings?
How does the message of Jesus’ death and resurrection help you to befriend your tears?

Excerpted from Hope Beyond Your Tears: Experiencing Christ’s Healing Love by Trevor Hudson. © 2012 by the author. Used with permission of Upper Room Books.