Tears of the Saved

There’s something to be said about a song that is able to quiet the voice singing it. A melody driven by such emotion that merely repeating the vibrato, range, and volume is not enough. You must sing with the same intensity that is presented in the recording. Just as you find the pitch and hit the note, the heart trembles and breath is returned to its primary function. You can only breathe because, without intent, your mind took you to a place where it wasn’t just a lyric, but a moment lived.

For some people, it is the first song they danced to with their loved one. It could be the song one sung to their newborn baby. It could be a mother’s, father’s, or a best friend’s favorite song. It could’ve been the theme song for the group trip or a song that made a special someone dance. Either way, hearing it or singing causes a person to stop, reflect, and cry.

While I can agree that there are a few secular songs that can elicit an emotional response, Gospel songs have always broken me down deeper. In my phone is a playlist labeled “Reverence” that cannot be in my weekly rotation. Whenever one of its songs is in my shuffle, I know I will be at risk of tears no matter where I am or who I’m around. One verse from one of these songs would have people asking, “Why are you crying? Are you okay?” To which I could only respond, “If you only knew of the grace of God in my life.”

This is not a list that requires me to be sad or filled with the Spirit. I do not have to set the atmosphere or enter into a session of praise and worship. It simply needs to play. Even after the one thousandth listen, Smokie Norful’s “Dear God”[1] causes me to revisit so many old memories. Sometimes, those revisits reveal fresh spaces where Jesus Christ covered me.

I am brought to tears because I remembered a moment in my life that wasn’t so great, and yet God Himself made it great for me. It cannot be helped. Rest assured, I am still okay. I am only reminiscing.

“Remember where you came from” is one of the most repeated proverbs in America. It is a charge to reflect on the life that you’ve had and compare it to the life you’ve earned. For most, it is an opportunity to compare material possessions, social statuses, friendships, love life, and personal health. When I sing, “Thank You, Lord (For Being There For Me)” by Fred Hammond[2], it becomes a moment to recognize the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Strangely enough, the intensity of these feelings didn’t come about easily. I didn’t wake up and start thanking God for my childhood, my many blessings, or the many people who blessed me. No, this gratitude came from being saved from my worst decisions.

I do not hide the fact that I am not perfect. I can be purely evil sometimes. I have made many mistakes and, although I don’t plan to, I fully expect to make more mistakes in the future. I have stolen, fornicated, lied, bullied, fought, been selfish, arrogant, pious, egotistical, misogynistic, and several other crimes deserving of punishment. Even worse, I am capable of doing all of these things again, if I do not continuously combat my flesh. Though, I have done these things and could do them again, I remain at peace because the Lord’s grace covered me back then, and will cover me always. I remember where I came from.

There’s no real way to sugarcoat this. I could’ve been a father with a baby mother I never wanted. I could’ve been responsible for an abortion. I could’ve been arrested for drinking and driving. I could’ve ruined friendships over my lust. I could’ve been justly fired from certain jobs. I could’ve been a troubled child because of divorce. I could’ve been an alcoholic as my grandfathers were. I could’ve been many things, but God.

Little by little, when I look back on the many negative directions my life could’ve went, I am shown that God didn’t allow it. He spared me of my own decisions and covered me from the results of other people’s decisions. I have seen people of my childhood going to jail, being addicted to drugs, and having to deal with miserable co-conceivers (because we all know they aren’t co-parents). My life could’ve been marred with much more drama than I have now. For that, I am grateful.

Though, I could be grateful only for the things I avoided, it would be a disservice to the things I am glad I got to experience. I have traveled with close friends to many cities and experienced many cultures. I have eaten a feast’s worth of food and have provided a feast’s worth of food on several occasions. I have been under bountiful ministries with loving people. I’ve held positions I didn’t know I was capable of holding. I have been blessed in ways I couldn’t predict and have blessed people in ways I didn’t know I was capable of.

The point is: there is always a time to remember where I came from. I came from goodness and mercy. They followed me back then, and they will continue to follow me going forward. I believe in God’s word[3]. It has been far too evident in my life to think otherwise.

This is why I tear up when I listen to “Hills and Valleys” by Tarren Wells[4] or “Make Room” by Jonathan McReynolds[5]. I remember the hills (joy) I’ve stood upon and the valleys (misery) I’ve walked through. I remember the spaces where I’ve made room for God and He showed me He was grateful by speaking with me in places I didn’t know I could hear. These are no longer just good songs, they’re reminders. You came from a breath of God. You came through a covering from the Spirit. You move forward in the image and likeness of Christ because that is what He wants for you. I am His son.

As a child, I did not understand why certain people always had to shout, run, pass out, or cry whenever we were in praise and worship. I did not understand their tears, nor could I understand why they’d wail just because someone said, “Amazing grace. How sweet, the sound.”[6] I had to grow up and let God grow in me. Now, if you’re in church, you might just see me only managing to clap or lift my hands when listening to a rendition of “This is Our God”[7]. I might be shedding tears, but just let me be. These are the tears of the saved.

There are a certain group of people in this life that can point you to a moment where they truly believe God acted in their favor to rescue, elevate, protect, or care for them. There are people who’ve walked away from diseases, abuse, addiction, deathbeds, bad habits, worse thoughts, and terrible desires. There are people who’ve walked into good jobs, full bellies, close friends, and good love. We are those people, and we will always shed a tear in remembrance of what was done for us simply because a song reminded us of those moments.

We all have our own songs that trigger us. My friend and I went through a concert’s worth of songs[8] that took us to the emotional plain. As I worshipped God and continued my declaration that I’d love Him “More Than Anything”[9], my friend was “Sending Up My Timbers”[10] with a hand raised and a head bowed.

Imagine two grown, Black men seated at a round, wooden table. Two brothers, seated at arm’s length from each other facing a living room. A portable speaker in the living room is blaring music being played on the tv so loud that the neighbors might come knocking. These two men aren’t worried about the loudness. They are too busy trying to remain composed as song after song reminds them of the goodness and mercy of God.

There are hand claps, sniffles, tears, head shakes, and fist bumps. There are deep exhales and trembling voices as one constantly asks, “Why’d we decide to go there? Like, why did we do this to ourselves?”

It was a moment where we understood how overwhelming those two promises of God are in our lives. For every storm, there was goodness and mercy. For every sunshine, there was goodness and mercy. For every paycheck that wasn’t enough, there was goodness and mercy. For every paycheck that allowed us to splurge, there was goodness and mercy. We understood, without knowing each of the songs played, exactly where the singer(s) were coming from. It is the connection each Christian holds dear in their heart.

We shed our tears because we know how bad it would’ve been if not for God. We cry because know what could’ve been, but God. We weep because we know what we should’ve received instead, but God. For every could have, should have, or would have, we have a “but God”. That knowledge in itself is enough to make the most stoic of men fall to his knees and wail. You see people who have lost their minds, but they are people whose minds were saved from much worse than what you see.

During praise and worship in church, it is not wise to make fun of the people running around. You don’t know what they’ve run out of or run away from. It is not wise to mock those who dance uncontrollably[11]. You don’t know what misery had them shackled or what demon they had to break free from. It is not humorous that some fall out, wail, and tremble to the point that they must be covered by blankets. You don’t know what addiction, drug, abuse, or anger almost took their lives.

I understand that, sometimes, it can appear funny. I understand that, sometimes, it is strange to see. I understand that, sometimes, you have to see it to believe it. But, remember your place when you’re in that atmosphere. Remember Whose place you’re in when you’re in that atmosphere[12]. God said make a joyful noise. He didn’t define whether it had to be an understandable noise or even a good-sounding noise. He said, “Make a joyful noise.”[13] Perhaps, you should concern yourself more with your silence than with recording someone in their praise.

Have you forgotten where you came from? Do you need to be reminded? Take a listen to the aforementioned songs. Remember the good scripture that says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.” (Psalm 100). Remember where you came from. Recognize that it was Christ who brought you out, whether you believe in Him or not.

Everyone has moments they recognize, “This almost happened, but I lucked up.” It wasn’t luck, it was mercy. Plenty of people can admit they had moments where, “I don’t know how I was able to do that. Somebody was looking out for me.” It wasn’t just somebody, it was goodness, and that goodness was from the very heart of God. He has only ever sought to be merciful and good. Not just to anyone, but to you.

The tears of the saved are earned tears. We have all suffered, but we have found relief and hope in Jesus Christ. If you could only know the oceans of the tears we’ve cried. It as deep as any other sufferer in this world. However, we have that John 3:16 hope. We are promised everlasting life and life more abundantly. Mercy covered the grave and goodness covers the way ahead. If you ever want to know why we are so moved even just by the name Jesus Christ, I’d suggest you try Jesus. That’s how the confusion, heartache, misery, depression, hate, fear, and hopelessness became dancing, joy, gratefulness, hope, identity, purpose, giving, and love. Try God, and watch how the songs mentioned in this post turn into personal stories of salvation and protection.

Every Christian started out in disbelief. Every Christian had to find out if God was for real. Every Christian had moments of doubt. Every Christian had to see His goodness and mercy for themselves. Listen to the songs. They aren’t just fairytales. We lived it. From our hearts, we know it to be true.


From a grown man who cries,


Dario Augustus

[1] Smokie Norful, performer. “Dear God.” Smokie Norful Live, EMI Gospel/Smokie Norful (SNO), 2009. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnWbYqSJ3_w&ab_channel=SmokieNorfulVEVO . Accessed 5 Feb. 2022. [2] Fred Hammond and Radical for Christ, performers. “Thank You Lord (For Being There For Me)”. Purpose by Design, Verity Records. 2000. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9PgK9JdWqw&ab_channel=FredHammond-Topic . Accessed 5 Feb. 2022. [3] Psalm 23:6 NRSV - Surely goodness and mercy shall follow - Bible Gateway [4] Tarren Wells, performer. “Hills and Valleys (The Valleys Version)” Hills and Valleys, Reunion Records. 2017. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QJIt6spYqM&ab_channel=TaurenWells . Accessed 5 Feb. 2022 [5] Jonathan McReynolds, performer. “Make Room” Make More Room (Live) [Deluxe Version]. Entertainment One US LP, 2018. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiycqP-kCKE&ab_channel=JonMcReynoldsVEVO . Accessed 5 Feb. 2022. [6] Hoffman, Mary. Amazing Grace. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2007. [7] Hillsong Worship, performers. “This is Our God” Hillsong Chapel: Yahweh. Hillsong Music, 2008. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JxXxtG7-rs&ab_channel=HillsongWorship . Accessed 5 Feb. 2022. [8] https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLz33kxE4uBfJ0FNWbQyfxlhlR6AqhFYSq [9] Sunday Service Choir, performers. “More Than Anything”. Jesus is Born. INC and Vydia, 2019. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpSkWEDkItY&ab_channel=KanyeWestVEVO Accessed 5 Feb. 2022. [10] Curtis Williamson feat. Chris Turner, Willie Norwood, Steve Adams, Robert Guy, and George Gee, performers. “Sending Up My Timbers”. 2013. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIsNZjqqN1k&ab_channel=HumbleIsDaWay . Accessed 5 Feb. 2022. [11] 2 Samuel 6:12-23 NRSV - It was told King David, “The LORD has - Bible Gateway [12] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+18%3A20&version=NRSV [13] Psalm 100 NRSV - Psalm 100 All Lands Summoned to Praise - Bible Gateway

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