The Greatest Donor

Last summer’s TV reruns lasted much longer because of the actor’s strike. To view something unseen, I watched several episodes of the old show, Monk. A program I never watched when it first ran. Usually, this drama comedy stays on the lighter side of life. However, the poignant scene I’m about to describe to you touched my life in a way I will never forget.

The episode begins with Monk walking down a crowded sidewalk in the city. He bumps into a woman, turns to her, they exchange glances, and apologize to one another. Monk, however, remains fixed on the woman who continues down the street. Feeling compelled, he pursues her, but she slips away. The rest of the episode resolves around a murder mystery (the theme of the show) and Monk’s OCD related obsession to find this woman again, he learns, named Maria.

Now fast forward to the last few minutes of the show. Where at last Monk and Maria reconnect.

Maria: Do I know you?

Monk: I’ve been looking for you all night.

Maria: Why?

Monk: I don’t know.

Then Monk notices a date tattooed on her arm. He says to her, “That’s the day my wife died.”

Maria replies, “That’s the day I was reborn. I had a disease…I was going blind.”

Monk interjects, “Then you got a cornea transplant from Trudy.”

“Yes, Trudy Monk,” Maria tells him.

“My wife.” Monk responds. The man, not fond of touching others, then moves closer to Maria’s face, her cheeks now streaming with tears. With his eyes fixed on hers, he gently takes his thumb and wipes the tears from the eyes of the wife he loved but lost.

Christ our donor

How did this hand to the tissue box scene touch my life? To begin with, I thought about how Christ became our donor. Laying down his life to give us eyes to see his grace and forgiveness. With the added promise of a whole new body one day. One never in need of replacement parts.

But what struck my attention the most in this heart-rending scene was the similarity of the act Monk showed Maria to the ones I know of Christ.

When Monk looks deep into the eyes of Maria, it reminds us of how God locks in on his compassion for us. Just like Hagar, who named the Lord as “the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13). Out of despair, Hagar runs away from her mistress Sarai, Abraham’s wife, when treated harshly. But the angel of God finds her and delivers news to bring hope to Hagar. (Genesis 16:3-10) Later, Hagar loses hope again as she and her son, Ishmael, get sent into the desert. In fear of dying, the Lord hears their cries and responds to their need. (Genesis 21:14-17)

Where else do we discover how God sees and values our tears?

The book of Job explodes with tears and suffering. “O earth, do not cover my blood, nor let there be a secret place for my cry. Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God” (Job 16:18-20).

Job’s friends sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights and then took on the role of his accusers. Not true of God, who never turns on us in our pain, who never brings false accusations against us, and who never grows weary of sitting with us. Even the best of friends can’t remain with us forever, but Jesus can.

What about the woman in Luke 7:36-50 who used her tears and hair to wipe the dusty feet of Jesus? What in this woman’s life triggered enough tears for a foot washing? It was her sincere love for Jesus and deep need for forgiveness. Little did she realize as she wiped the dirt from Jesus’ feet, his love for her and forgiveness were wiping away her sin.

I am a crier. I love how Psalm 56:8 describes how God values our tears that he saves them in a container and records them on a scroll. Who knows how many times the Lord supplied one more container for all my tears or rolled out another scroll to record each one? One day, he’ll transition them all into victory and joy! When “he will swallow up death permanently. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from every face…” (Isaiah 25:8). I cling to this promise—maybe you do too.

The Bible never minimizes pain and suffering but adds one word to it. Temporary.

“Is everything sad going to become untrue?” Lord of the Rings. “The answer of Christianity to that question is—yes. Everything sad is going to come untrue and it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.” Tim Keller, The Reason for God

The greatest donor didn’t leave us when he ascended into heaven. He continues to donate his attention to our needs, his compassion over our suffering, his comforting Holy Spirit to our every hurt, his forgiveness for our offenses.

Jesus wipes away our tears in the darkest, most painful times of our lives. The Monk episode created a beautiful imagery for me to remember. Now, when I hurt, I envision the nail-pierced hands of Christ cradling my face. With his eyes razor focused on mine, he softly wipes away my tears and reminds me. I see you. I love you. And I’ve got you.

Our tears will keep flowing in personal loss and suffering, but we can live with the certainty that everything sad is becoming untrue! Are you living with that certainty?


If interested: The Monk episode I watched was Season 6, Episode 9.

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