When Tears Have a Voice
I leave the conversation because my heart is breaking. My face is burning and pulsing, clear signals that my blood pressure is high. I am past the emotion of crying and have been catapulted into the screaming dimension. The hysterical screaming dimension.
I turn away and climb sixteen steps. Enter the door on the right. Climb over the teetering stack of books and magazines. I have to turn sideways to fit by the dresser with the three out of five broken drawers. And there it is, tucked into my closet: the weeping bench.
The Weeping Bench
It’s an old wooden trunk that was cast out as garbage. Nails protruding and broken hinges that make the top all wonky when it’s opened. It’s filled with junk and unwanted things like ripped sheets, single socks, worn and ripped clothes. I never open it. Yet it is a holier vessel than it looks.
I kneel at this altar of incense, the place where my guttural and emotional cries spill out of me and rise to a Holy God in the form of a prayer. I stay until I am done, not rushing the process. The world is tuned out. Physical needs go unmet until I can deal with spiritual needs. The children’s need for bread alone is not greater than my need for the Bread of Life. There is no mommy guilt in this place. I have chosen the better and I know they will reap the benefit of my time at the weeping bench.
I say awful things. Disgusting things. Heartfelt things. Words that are pouring from the heart, just like the Lord said, revealing my condition. I speak these words, as vile as they may be, I speak them without guilt or shame because I speak them to God.
My tears have a voice.
This Father lets me bring Him my ugliness, and I stay until it is beautiful. I show Him my coldness and my hurt, the wall I am erecting. I allow Him to see my heart and the pain I hold in it. And the weeping bench becomes a place of holiness and peace. He offers me every healing, not just to me, but to everyone outside the door waiting for their bread.
“Sometimes a penitent man’s eyes will in some way tell what his tongue can in no way utter. Many times the penitent is better at weeping, than he is at speaking. Tears have a voice, and are very prevalent orators with God. Penitential tears are undeniable ambassadors, and they never return from the throne of grace without an answer of grace.
“Tears are a kind of silent prayers, which though they say nothing—yet they obtain pardon; they prevail for mercy, as you may see in that great and clear instance of Peter. He said nothing, he confessed nothing that we read of—but ‘went out and wept bitterly’—and obtained mercy.”(Thomas Brooks)
This bench stayed my closet for 13 years. To think that every tear cried at this altar has been captured and cared for, bottled and kept in heaven moves my mended heart. I am a healed and healthy woman thanks to the time spent at this place.
Now the weeping bench is downstairs in the library. The bench looks exactly the same, but there are a few differences. The weeping bench is opened weekly and inside the still broken hinged top you will find five baby dolls, building blocks, hundreds of cars, bags of Polly Pocket dolls and clothes, carousels, doll houses, car villages and tracks.
I’ve set tea trays down on this bench to serve saints of God. I’ve sat my laptop on it as I wrote words from the heart with the purpose of edification and encouragement to those in wilderness journeys. This bench has come a long way and served many purposes. Isn’t it beautiful?
The Prayer Closet
The prayer closet is no mere suggestion, my friends. The work of God done on your heart in this sacred place, with or without a bench, has rewards and sometimes you actually get to see those rewards in a visible and clear manor.
That bench was God’s tool to sustaining a family Satan didn’t want to work out. Evidence of God’s miraculous ways is evident by the contents it now holds.
Can you believe God enough to take to Him your heart? Can you trust Him to show Him what He already knows, but you need to work out?
God is wondrous at taking broken things, hearing broken cries, from broken places and transforming them into vessels of grace.
Where you kneel today will reveal grace tomorrow.
Stay at your bench long enough to soften. I promise you the children will be fine. Their fretting and hunger can be dealt with better by your time here with your Father.
Everyone thinks it’s just an old broken bench. But you and I know it is much more than that, don’t we? It was and has always been an altar to God. In the bad times, it was an altar where I met Him, offering prayers like the priests offered incense. In the good times, it holds objects of fun for darling grandchildren who are gifts and strength to this family. It is an altar of testimony to the magnificent grace of God.
Satan meant to break me and mine, but God, as always, in His Providence, purified and bonded our family at the weeping bench.
Go, now, dear momma — weep at your bench if you must. I testify that He will hear you and turn that weeping into joy.
This is and was very beautiful. I was looking for a weeping bench on the internet for our church and came across this story. I first heard of the weeping bench by reading one of Mary Woodworth-Etter’s books Signs and Miracles. She talked about a weeping bench that every church should have. We have drifted far from this in America’s church. My wife and I are pastors and teachers of the gospel in the beginnings of our ministry. We have started at home through a vision the Lord gave me of a white pulpit in the living room and following after a vision of a green hill in heaven with a strand of bamboo fence along one side. God elevated me to a secret place to hear His voice. Well thank you for your post and may God shower His rain upon your fields.
Thank you Shannon for these words…
Thank you for sharing this awesome post today, thank you for being a bright light for me today, thank you for reminding me of Isaiah 62 v 3. Big hugs.
God bless, you Kathy. It’s dark somedays, isn’t it? I am pleased to remind and show hope that these promises are TRUE!
It certainly is and has been for such a very very long time now, so many things you mentioned in your post were so encouraging, to think where you spent time with God privately is now on display for the rest of your family and you to enjoy and that you filled your “weeping bench” with happy toys and happy items for your family and future family members to enjoy really made me feel encouraged.God is so awesome. Thank you.
God’s timetable is extremely off kilter to ours. It seems like we wait forever. As long as you are praying and talking to Him in the wait, there will be light. This bench is like a stone from the river Jordan set to display God’s deliverance. A leg broke off after I wrote this post. It’s upheld with a book. 🙂
So true about God’s timing being so different from ours, I seek God’s Will continually, I believe I must not be where I need to be, so that is the reason for this extented painful season. I am so sorry to hear one of the legs broke off, so glad you were able to continue to use it by making good use of one of your books:) I’m thinking it probably just makes it all the more special to you now:)
This is beautiful, Shannon. Thank you for sharing straight from your heart…
Thank you. I love sharing what the ‘reaping’ side of all the sowing years are like. Thank YOU for letting me stay here today.