Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Crying Together With
By Ramone - January 22, 2007
This picture is part of a series (see this link) that came as God talked to me after soaking in our Japanese bath one night. I asked Him why my struggle with lust had gone on so long, and He said it was because He would use it to help other people into freedom from lust. I cried so hard when He told me that. And we talked for awhile after that, and this was one of the pictures that came out. A picture of sharing, a picture of brokenness, a picture of what He has called us to do, of the greatest law He has called us to fulfill: "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2).
The name of the picture comes from something Dutch Sheets said about "intercession" in his book Intercessory Prayer. In Romans 8:26 Paul said that the Spirit "helps" us or "intercedes" for us in our weakness. Sheets wrote about the word "helps" in Greek:
"The Greek word is sumnantilambanomai. I think you have to speak in tongues just to say this word! ...It is a compound word made up of three words. Sun means 'together with', anti means 'against', and lambano means 'to take hold of'. Putting them together, a very literal meaning of the word would be 'take hold of together with against.'" (Sheets, Intercessory Prayer, p.102)
The definition--clumsy as it is--stuck in my head, in my spirit and in my heart: "Taking hold of together with against".
I saw this picture as I was talking with God that night, when He was showing me that He would use my struggle to help others free, to help me to understand their pain, to intercede and "carry away" (Gal.6:2) their burden in Christ. The only way I could describe the picture was in the same kind of clumsy Greeky-sounding definition, "Crying together with." Crying together with one another, with Him, understanding what we've been through. Understanding and carrying it to Christ that He may carry it away.
When you've been under that struggle (or any struggle for that matter), you sometimes can't see things clearly. So He sends you a helper (sometimes it's obviously the Holy Spirit, other times it's a person through whom His Spirit is working to "help" you -- to take hold of this thing together with you, against the enemy, and carry it away from you so you can see that Christ has taken it in His finished work on the cross). This is a picture of that, of me or someone else "helping" (sumnantilambanomai!) by His Spirit, being there for someone, together with them. And in crying together, "mourning with those who mourn", somehow something is released. A captive suddenly knows he is not alone. And suddenly he starts getting released as the burden is "carried away". Just like the scapegoat carried away the sins of Israel, so Christ carried away our sins never to be seen again.
And in His love, He sends us to one another to extend His ministry of love, to intercede by helping someone who can't see the light, taking their burden with them for a moment, and when they can't give it to Christ (who has taken it away but they don't know it yet), instead you give it to Christ. You mourn with them, you carry it, too, and you give it to Christ because they don't know how. And somehow, through this love, this sharing in their grief, crying together with them, He acts. He extends His intercession. And He takes the burden away.
Thank You, God, for doing this for me! Thank You for crying together with me, for sharing my pain, my distress, my darkness, my burden, my trial. Thank You for taking it all from me. Sometimes I don't remember that You "became sin" for me, that You took it away. In those times, Lord, thank You for showing me. In other times, Lord, when my grief was louder than Your voice, thank You for sending someone to help me, to "cry together with" me and carry my burden away to You. Thank You for sending someone in Christ's love, fulfilling His law. Thank You.
Lord, in Jesus' name, I ask You to send me. Send me to do this, Lord. I'll never forget the time You had me do that for a friend at university that didn't even know it. After that I told You that if I can just do this all my life for my friends, that is all I want, that is enough, Lord. Thank You for crying in Your Spirit in me now as I write that, Lord. Thank You for that desire. Thank You for the name You gave me in Japanese though my wife one day, "someone who cries together with". Thank You for sending me. Thank You for answering my request to do this, Lord, that came from Your heart and became my heart, too. I love You. Send more of us to do this, Lord. Fill us with Your heart, Your intercessory heart, to cry together with Your people in mourning, even those who don't know You yet. In Jesus' name, thank You, and amen.
P.S. This picture, "Released Together" is a result of this kind of "crying together with" in His heart!
This is beautiful! I sent you an email about it - I hope we can discuss the possible use of this photo!