I was watching my kids burn off some energy in a city park when a man wandered over to us, having been attracted by their laughing and playing. Bearing the scars of a hard life he was clearly enjoying the innocence of youth as they chased each other around a picnic table. We began to visit and eventually I steered the conversation to Jesus and the love He has for every child of Adam. At one point he began to wipe away tears with a dirty coat sleeve and remarked, “What’s happing? Why am I crying?” “That’s God,” I replied. “He’s tugging on your heart because He loves you and wants you to let Him turn your life around!” We talked some more and the weeping began again. “Stop it!” He pleaded. “Stop making me cry!” Again, I responded, “It’s not me. God is trying to convince you to trust Him. Ask Him to forgive you and He will remove all your guilt and replace it with His peace.” Clutching the contents of his paper bag, he turned and began to walk away. “Not today,” he said as he sadly shook his head. “Not today.”
I wonder if those are the times Jesus also weeps. In Luke 19 we read where Jesus is standing outside the city of Jerusalem. Moments before He had been gloriously honored with a triumphal procession, an event we celebrate as Palm Sunday. Now, with tears in His eyes He looks at Jerusalem and cries out, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace! But you don’t recognize God’s coming to you!” Many love to call Him prophet, even king, yet resist calling Him Savior.
Sin hurts people, and it breaks the heart of God to see the condition of a humanity who turn their backs on Him. It doesn’t need to be so. The Bible reveals to us a loving God who has never stopped reaching out to the people He created. In the garden He calls out, “Where are you?” to the man who is hiding because of his sin. He sends Jonah to warn the Ninevites to turn from their wickedness because He doesn’t want to destroy them. And He sends His Son to this planet to turn the hearts of the disobedient to the Father who loves them. “Come to me all you who are weary from your heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11)
How Jesus must weep as people choose to carry their burdens another mile, chained to the sin they hate; avoiding the God they fear. Yet, the holy God who thundered on Mount Sinai is the same God who lovingly promised His people:
“The LORD is waiting to be merciful to you, and wants to show you compassion. When you cry out to God, He will answer you.” Isaiah 30
This is the true character of God who, “showed his love by sending his only Son into this world to experience physical death so we could have eternal life.” 1 John 4
God is tugging on hearts. He weeps; He waits. Let us never miss an opportunity to bid them come with their burdens and receive His peace. Tomorrow may be too late.