Today’s Reading: Hebrews 2
My wife, Cindy, and I were sitting with our children’s pastor some years ago. As we were talking in our living room, our four children were playing in the basement. All our kids were under the age of eight, so there was a lot going on. At that time the children’s pastor was not married and had no children.
While we were talking we all heard a cry from the basement, but Cindy and I just kept talking. Finally he said, “Aren’t you guys going to do something?”
“It’s okay,” we told him. “That’s a ‘You took my spot!’ cry. It’s all good.”
We kept talking and then another cry came from the basement. We never flinched. He was unnerved. “Should we go check on them?”
“It’s all good,” Cindy and I said. “That’s a bug cry.”
We kept talking. Then a third cry came and we got up and left. He sat confused. “Where are you going?”
“That’s an ‘I’m hurt!’ cry,” we said as we rushed to the basement. “Someone hurt themselves and we need to go.” Meeting postponed.
When you are a parent, you know the cry of your children. Hebrews 2 is about our Savior who knows the cry of His kids. Let’s read this very encouraging passage:
“He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:17-18)
The King James Version doesn’t use the phrase, come to the aid. It uses a very old English word, “He is able to succor them.” The word succor actually means to run to the cry. I think it’s important to know that Jesus runs to the cry and not to the articulate. Sometimes all we have is a cry, and that moves our Savior to our rescue.
Psalms show us this over and over:
“In my distress I cried out to the Lord . . . my cry to him reached his ears.” (Psalm 18:6, NLT)
“In my trouble I cried to the Lord, and He answered me.”
“I love the Lord because he . . . heard my cry.” (Psalm 116:1, NIRV)
David over and over uses cries for prayer. A cry is inarticulate but still has meaning. A cry is not grammatically correct, but it is understandable to God. A cry may be wordless but speaks with force and passion in the ears of God.
Tears are prayers. Tears talk when we can’t. There’s an old poem by John Vance Cheney that says in part, “The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.” Let me show you the rainbow of this verse. The writer of Hebrews was telling us that since Jesus became like us “in all things,” He knows the cry and the pain of those things. He can recognize the emotions of situations that we forget Jesus became familiar with.
In 100 Days in the Arena, David Winter recounts a horrific time in the early church when the Christians were being killed for their faith. He includes this prayer:
“You give yourself with such total generosity, it might almost seem that you need us. There has never been a king like you ever before. You have made yourself available to everyone who needs you. Instead of high security, you have made yourself vulnerable even to those who hate you.”
What makes Jesus amazing is that our tears are enough to get His attention. It’s not our experience, our vocabulary, our education, our position, or our finances. A cry is enough to make Him run to our help. There is no such thing as a bad prayer—even if it’s just a cry.
Bruce Howell tells the story of a father and his young son and daughter who went swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off New Jersey. Though they were all great swimmers they got separated, and the dad, looking around, realized that the tide was carrying them out to sea. He called out to his daughter, “I am going to shore for help. If you get tired, turn on your back. You can float all day on your back. I’ll come back for you.” He and the boy made it to shore and then set out on a frantic search for the girl. After four hours, they found her far out in the sea. She was calmly swimming on her back and wasn’t frightened at all. The father was hugely relieved when the calm girl was finally back on shore. Everyone wondered how she could be so calm. She said, “Daddy said he would come for me and that I could float all day, so I swam and floated because I knew he would come.”
This is what Jesus is all about. He will always come for us. He will always be there.