The Gift of Tears10 May, 2019
The Bible tells us God actually collects tears in a bottle. He knows what you’re going through and He cares about you so very much. He knows every thought and ache you have in your heart, and all your heart’s desires.
Psalm 56:8 says, “You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” This shows me that, not only does God capture every single tear you’ve cried, but He keeps track of what made you cry and what breaks your heart so that He can heal and comfort you.
Repeatedly in the Bible, figures of great strength and faith pour out their souls in tears and anguish. Two-thirds of the psalms are laments, complaints to God. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, wrote an entire Old Testament book entitled Lamentations. As did Isaiah and Daniel, Jeremiah wept for the sins and the consequent judgments that would come upon his people.
In the Midrash, rabbinic stories and interpretations of the Torah, even God weeps. God grieved in Genesis (Gen 6:6). Jesus wept over Lazarus and cried out in grief over Jerusalem (John 11:35; Luke 13:34) and the Holy Spirit, too, can be grieved (Eph 4:30).
Certainly, we’re not to cry or mourn like those who are without hope in Christ. And Paul reminded the Church of Corinth that godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation (2 Cor 7:10). There’s a time to weep as the wise teacher of Ecclesiastes teaches us (Ecc 3:4).
1. Tears of Healing
In her book, ‘Visions from Heaven’, Wendy Alec shared a powerful vision during an intense trial in her life:
‘The Father picked up the most exquisitely-cut glass canister filled to the brim with a liquid. “These are your tears that you shed during your time of intense trial.” He picked up another much, much larger canister. “And, these are the tears that I shed. For you.” And the Father lifted the canister of His tears and poured them over the blood seeping from my heart. Instantly the blood stopped flowing and a great comfort washed over my heart.’
Tears can be a healing agent God uses to restore the broken-hearted. Because tears deal with a person’s heart, they’re a powerful tool in the healing of a person from the inside out. Consider this: God weeps with those who weep (Rom 12:15). In fact, it’s in your pain that God is closest to you, whether you realise it or not. The Bible says in Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (NIV).
I like the Message translation of Jesus’ beatitude “Blessed are those who mourn” – “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what’s most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” – Matt 5:4 (MSG)
2. Tears of Prayers
Not to cry is in some sense missing the depth of feeling and understanding prayer demands. Tears are prayers too – they travel to God when we can’t speak. Our prayers can be powerful, but there’s a special place that opens only to tears. They unlock something inside us and, in the world from the moment our first cry is coaxed as infants, we acknowledge the power of tears to open gates and hearts.
I understood that tears are a gift from God, as I had seasons in my life when my heart was so parched that I could not cry, no matter how hard I tried. Tears tenderise our hearts for change, breaking the fallow ground. Tears are a way that our bodies express our hearts. Lou Engle entreats us to ask God for the ‘gift of tears’. We must have tears if we’re going to see revival. The gift of tears flows from feeling the pain and suffering that the Lord Jesus feels for us. “The greatest reapers in this world are the greatest weepers.” – Paul Cain
“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Ps 126:5-6
Especially to the mothers, who have sown and laboured in tears, may your heart be filled with His comfort and the fruit of joy, on this special Mother’s Day. Your tears are precious in His sight and your prayers move His heart. Never underestimate the power of a praying mom.
I remembered when I as studying in Australia years ago, I wrote a letter of appreciation in Chinese to my mom. My dad called me and told me that my mom was in tears after reading my letter. For some strange reason, I was so moved that I started crying too. Her tears and love had so touched my heart.
Thank you, moms, for letting us feel God’s love radiate through you. For helping us understand what tender but unconditional love is. We’re grateful for all the sacrifices of love you’ve made for us; for all the tender smiles that have given us hope in our worst moments. You’ve showed us that true strength is exemplified in gentleness and loving-kindness; not always in thought and deed, but with our heart of hearts.
P.S. We love you, moms!
Ps. Timothy Chong