Do you weep (cry)? When was the last time you cried? Of course, there are a lot of reasons that people cry, an emotional song, a good movie, pain, when someone hurts you, when things don’t go your way, or the loss of a loved one.
Of course in our society crying is not a hip or popular thing to do, especially for us guys. I’ve seen women that don’t like to see guys cry. Football coaches are mocked when they choke up after a game. It’s just not a “cool” thing to do.
I never saw my father cry, and as I reached adulthood, I didn’t cry either. It just wasn’t something I did. At least not until I returned to the Lord after a period of straying from Him. There was something about the presence of the Holy Spirit that brought tears of joy to me. But not only that. I think that keeping an open heart and abiding in Him keeps us sensitive and our emotions come out easier. I know that when I’ve strayed, I’m a bit more callous and of course “hard-hearted”.
Why discuss crying? What is the significance?
The Bible has many examples of people crying or weeping and for many different reasons. Let’s look at some examples of weeping in the Good Book:
Exodus 2: 23 Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. 24 God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.
The Israelites were experiencing a time of great oppression and it brought them to tears. God heard it and knew it was time to act. Why did He let it get to that point? I don’t know, I guess that it wasn’t the time, until then.
When Nehemiah was a cup bearer for the Persian king, his brother Hanani brought him this news:
Nehemiah 1: 3 They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
This was Nehemiah’s response:
4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.
What love he had for his homeland! He was clearly heartbroken.
I know that these people were all under extreme circumstances and as an American, I can’t even begin to relate to them.
Do you think King David ever cried?
6 I am worn out from sobbing.
All night I flood my bed with weeping,
drenching it with my tears.
7 My vision is blurred by grief;
my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.
8 Go away, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord will answer my prayer.
10 May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified.
May they suddenly turn back in shame.
Apparently, this was a low point in his life, and he had many.
Here’s a popular verse form our Lord:
John 11: 35 Then Jesus wept.
What about the weeping prophet, Jeremiah?
1 If only my head were a pool of water
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
I would weep day and night
for all my people who have been slaughtered.
2 Oh, that I could go away and forget my people
and live in a travelers’ shack in the desert.
For they are all adulterers—
a pack of treacherous liars.
Here is another popular passage, from a man who had it all, riches and wisdom!:
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
And later on in the book, King Solomon shares some of his wisdom on this subject:
2 Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties.
After all, everyone dies—
so the living should take this to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
for sadness has a refining influence on us.
4 A wise person thinks a lot about death,
while a fool thinks only about having a good time.
Wow, this says a lot!
Is this counter-cultural or what? How many people are saying “think happy thoughts” these days and do not allow themselves to be sad? Like he said earlier, there’s a time to cry.
Here’s a good reason to cry, in our love and support for one another…
Romans 12: 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
Here is a very interesting and unique passage:
Ezekiel 9: 4 He said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.”
This was a vision that Ezekiel experienced. And what happened to the marked and unmarked?
5 Then I heard the Lord say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! 6 Kill them all—old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders.
Isn’t this wild? Only those that sincerely mourned, evidenced by shedding tears about the detestable sins, lived! Those that were indifferent or complacent by the sins were killed, in the vision at least.
Psalm 119: 136 Rivers of tears gush from my eyes because people disobey your instructions.
Now it’s time to learn from our Master.
What that Ezekiel passage reminded me of is this:
Luke 19: 41 But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. 42 “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. 43Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. 44 They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.”
Unlike the city of Nineveh (read Jonah), Jerusalem did not accept their opportunity for salvation. This brought Him to tears.
22 “My people are foolish
and do not know me,” says the Lord.
“They are stupid children
who have no understanding.
They are clever enough at doing wrong,
but they have no idea how to do right!”
Does this sound like the United States or what?
Do you think it’s time to start weeping?
Are we weeping enough over our current spiritual condition? I see Christians complaining more about politicians than weeping over people’s rejection of Jesus. I admit that I don’t weep enough over this and I think it’s because I am still being transformed and God is still changing my heart.
This is not something that you can make yourself do, but only by constantly seeking Him and abiding in Him will we be joyful for what brings God joy and we will weep for that which God weeps for.
But even for our personal life, it’s OK to cry. When you are distressed over circumstances or just plain sad, spend time on your knees and plead with God. Discuss it with Him as though He is right there (which He is). Pour out your heart to Him and when you feel like “letting go”, let it out, cry your eyes out.
Here are words that bring comfort:
Psalm 56: 8 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle.You have recorded each one in your book.
Will you weep?
“Dear Lord, you are my Comforter and Wonderful Counselor. I love that I can come to you with my every need and problem. You give the bread of life that feeds my soul. God, I want to be more like you. I want to have joy over things that bring you joy and I want to cry over things that make you cry. Change my heart and teach me your ways, I want to know you more. Thank you for what you’re teaching me in your Word. In Jesus name, Amen”
Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash