Have you ever found yourself apologising for your tears? Or berating yourself for being over-emotional?
And yet, in the pages of the scripture we see men and women of faith crying very real tears, in response to all kinds of distress and emotion:
- losing a spouse, a parent, a child or a friend.
- learning of the death even of an enemy.
- being reconciled with estranged family members.
- knowing the pain of childlessness.
- being scorned by friends.
- experiencing the hostility of enemies and family members.
- encountering the distress of a family member.
- having no comforter.
- seeing their own sin.
- experiencing God’s discipline.
- being persecuted for wholeheartedly following the Lord.
- seeing approaching war, or the horrors of its aftermath.
- experiencing famine.
- knowing the pain of seeing the sin of God’s people.
Abraham wept. (Genesis 23:2) Jacob wept. (Genesis 37:35) Joseph wept.(Genesis 42:24; 45:2; 45:15; 46:29; 50:1) Hannah wept. (1 Samuel 1:7; 1:10) David wept. (1 Samuel 30:4. 2 Samuel 1:12; 3:32; 12:21-22; 13:35-37; 18:33; 19:1 . Psalm 6:6-8; 39:12; 69:10) Elisha wept. (2 Kings 8:11) Isaiah wept. (Isaiah 16:9; 22:4) Jeremiah wept. (Jeremiah 9:1; 9:10; 48:32. Lamentations 1:16; 2:11; 3:48) Ezra wept. (Ezra 10:1) Nehemiah wept. (Nehemiah 1:4) Esther wept. (Esther 8:3) Job wept. (Job 16:16; 16:20; 30:25) Paul wept. (Acts 20:19; 20:31. 2 Corinthians 2:4; Philippians 3:18) The apostle John wept. (Revelation 5:4)
And of course Jesus wept. (Luke 19:41; John 11:35; Hebrews 5:7)
The Son of God. The perfect image of the Father. Humanity without sin. Jesus cried. We see Jesus’ tears at the death of his friend; at his people’s failure to recognise him and to experience salvation, and their upcoming suffering; and at his own imminent walk to the cross.
Tears are a gracious provision of the Lord. In this broken world, they allow us to express sadness and distress in a healthy way. Maybe we should allow ourselves to cry more often.
“You have kept count of my wanderings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?”