Pay attention to your tears

I read it again this morning: pay attention to your tears. It may seem a strange idea and it’s not clear at first why we need to do that so let me try to explain.

I first heard it from Lou Engle. It was in May 2015 at a conference in the Netherlands called Mission Possible. Lou’s a great speaker and although I’ve only heard him a couple of times I’ve learned something each time. When he speaks he moves back and forth. He says it energises him. We just say, “Lou rocks!” And he does – in both senses! So when he speaks you can expect to hear something important somewhere along the line.

On this occasion – as I remember it – one thing he said was, “Pay attention to your tears, for they will lead you to your destiny.” (I’ve tried to confirm the wording of what Lou said as, amazingly, I didn’t write it down at the time, so I’m quoting from memory. I could only find a post from August 2015 by Lance Wallnau who quotes Lou as saying, “Pay close attention to your tears. What you weep over has to do with your destiny.” Maybe this makes even more sense than what I remember.)

Pay attention to your tears, for they will lead you to your destiny.

It was during that conference that we were asked to pray for our cities. Since I live in Brussels, I tried to pray for Brussels but was not really inspired. So I turned my attention to Nagoya, the city where my wife and I are now living for six months, and immediately the tears and the inspiration came. We already knew we were going to spend some time here and this was another confirmation. My tears were pointing to my destiny.

I find that there are times when I begin to read something or relate something or pray something and, for no obvious reason, I choke up and may even begin to weep. I believe this is a sign of the Holy Spirit’s strong presence. He is confirming what I am saying, highlighting the passage I’m reading, or perhaps it’s about my destiny.

And so I’ve begun to pay attention to my tears.

At the beginning of November 2016, we spent over 4 hours at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Bureau and emerged with our tourist visas extended until the end of February 2017. Chiara, one of our daughters, asked me online what God had told us about staying longer (than six months) in Nagoya. I replied something to the effect that that my heart was for Nagoya, went back to bed (it was 5am or so) and told Olwen what I’d written. As I did so, I began to sob quietly and uncontrollably. I didn’t know why or what emotion was involved at first, but soon realised that God was sharing an infinitesimally small part of His infinite heart for Nagoya with me.

So it’s not that Nagoya has my heart, but rather that Jesus has my heart and is sharing a bit of His with me. And since He has done that, He has a purpose for us here that goes beyond these six months, and this is how He is communicating it.

My tears are pointing to my destiny. It’s here in Nagoya. I’m sure of it!

Not all tears are about destiny, but some are, so we are wise to pay attention, don’t you think?

Oasis 21 at night

Oasis 21 (Nagoya) at night

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Who are you following?

I’m a fan of social media. It’s useful for keeping up with family and friends, having group discussions, and recently I even bought a second-hand bass guitar through a Facebook group.

I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more, but the one I use most is Instagram. Almost every morning I post an image containing a verse which I hope will encourage one of the people who “follow” my account. And there are quite a few of them.

On Facebook, almost all my friends are people I know in the non-virtual world, but on Instagram it’s the reverse. Most of my followers, and those I follow, are people I have never met and have no other contact with. And that’s fine.

I follow accounts that are inspiring because of their content, whether scriptures or the beauty of creation, or to encourage people I come across who have very few followers. I hope that some of these will follow me in return, but it’s not because I want followers; it’s because I hope that by this means some may see a verse that will encourage them when they need it.

“Most of my followers, and those I follow, are people I have never met and have no other contact with. And that’s fine.”

Other Instagram users can see how many followers I have, but it’s really of no interest to me. What they can’t easily see is who I follow. I don’t get kudos for following celebrities and I’m sure that celebrities don’t care whether I follow them or not! (Most of them do care about the total number of followers, though!) And no one can tell who I follow by looking at my posts.

brian head welch

I follow Brian “Head” Welch from KoRn because he follows Jesus in the difficult sub-culture of heavy metal and prays for his fans at almost every gig!

Almost the only celebrity on social media that I follow is Brian “Head” Welch from KoRn and that’s because he follows Jesus in the difficult sub-culture of heavy metal and prays for his fans at almost every gig! Awesome! But I’m sure he has no idea that I follow him, and that’s fine too.  🙂

But there’s one celebrity with no social media account who I do follow, and if my friends and followers can’t tell that by looking at my posts then there’s something wrong.

In Acts 4:13 we read the following:

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.

They didn’t recognize them as men who had a lot of knowledge, or who had adopted Jesus’ philosophy or way of life. They simply recognized these early disciples as men who had been with Jesus; they were his followers and it was obvious!

I hope that my “friends” and “followers” on social media and in the “real” world can also recognize that I have been with Jesus. (Note to self: it would be good to spend more time sitting with Jesus and without distractions; more like Mary than Martha.)

He’s the only one I follow that I want them to know about. He does know who follows Him, and cares – not for the number of followers but for each individual.

And my hope and prayer is that one day my followers will follow Him too.