I used to think crying was a sign of weakness. Too “girly”. Or something to that effect. I’m not exactly sure what my problem was. But I made it a point to do my best to avoid it, and was quite proud of myself when I couldn’t remember the last time I had cried. I was tough. I didn’t need to cry. Everything was fine. I could handle it.
Or could I?
Something happened to me several months ago, something very good: I got in way over my head. And I couldn’t handle it. From my perspective, there was no way out of the mess I seemed to be in–at least not any way that did not involve tremendous pain. And, finally, I broke down and I cried. Hard. It hurt. But it was a different sort of crying from what I had known: It helped. It was the kind of crying that comes when you reach the end of you, and you need God. The kind where God meets you– and you find strength to continue: His strength.
So, I started learning. Or rather, God started teaching me. Crying, especially the sort of crying I’m talking about, is actually a sign of strength… in an odd sort of way. It declares that you have reached the end of yourself, and it forces you to run to God for help. It is a prayer–a desperate crying out to God: straight from the heart. It is humbling, especially for someone who used to avoid crying. It takes strength of character (and awe of God) to admit that you are weak.
9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
I have learned that many of my best prayers have come through tears–Tears for other people’s pain, tears for my own pain, tears for my sins.
It is freeing and refreshing, somehow. (Even if you do get awful headaches and even if your nose will drip.) It brings healing and peace–and even joy.
3The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.
4Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.
5They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
6He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 123:3-6
Now, I still don’t advocate crying excessively. For one, your head will always hurt, and for another, you’ll use up all the tissues. Okay okay. Seriously, it isn’t a good habit to cry over everything and anything. But if you have a good reason to cry– for instance, you’re praying about abortion, or you see the horror of your sin and are repenting, or you know a friend is going through hard times, or you yourself are pained–don’t hold it back. Let the tears come. But don’t just cry–cry out. To God.
5 The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called upon the LORD,
And cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.
He’s used to it–just look at Hannah, or David, or any number of others in the Bible:
And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. 1 Samuel 1:10
In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me. Psalm 120:1
1In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.
2Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,
3I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.
4And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying,
5Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD.
6And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. 2 Kings 20:1-6
Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore. Ezra 10:1-2
My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tearsunto God. Job16:20
Serving the LORD with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: Acts 20:19
3And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.
4For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. 2 Corinthians 2:3-4
41And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
42Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. Luke 19:41-42
Jesus wept. John 11:35
(Allow me to point out that there is only one female in that group: crying is for men, too. Hello! Jesus wept, people!!!)
God knows we are dust:
13Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
14For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103:13-14
He knows we are miniscule (way better than we do, heh.): He knows we can’t do it. And He loves nothing more than when we come to Him broken and humble, pleading with Him for help and forgiveness.
17The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
18The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:17-18
(Remember Romans 4 –we who have accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross are counted righteous because of Christ’s work on the cross. )
So go ahead–cry every once in a while. You have my permission. 😉
Just make sure you’re crying to the Right Person, for the right reasons.
Oh, and please: don’t forget to put your smile back on when you’re done. Okay? Okay. Thank you.
Why? Because this world is not our home, and we are looking forward to that day when He will wipe away our tears.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4