By David Faust
But some tears are necessary. Like rain after a drought, tears can penetrate and soften a heart that’s hard and dry. Like a hot shower after a hard day’s work, tears can bring relief to a weary soul. In times of grief, tears provide a needed outlet for sorrow. Once in a while there’s nothing healthier than a good cry.
Tears of the Faithful
The Bible has a lot to say about tears. David confessed, “All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears” (Psalm 6:6). Solomon observed that there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). The weeping prophet Jeremiah declared, “Since my people are crushed, I am crushed” (Jeremiah 8:21).
Jesus cried on at least three occasions. He cried at the tomb after his friend Lazarus died (John 11:35). Tears flowed when he approached the city of Jerusalem during the triumphal entry (Luke 19:41). And he wept in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before his crucifixion, offering up “prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death” (Hebrews 5:7). That same night, Peter wept bitterly when he realized he had denied the Lord (Mark 14:72).
A sinful woman wept so much that her tears rained down on Jesus’ feet and she wiped his feet with her long hair (Luke 7:38). After Jesus’ resurrection, Mary Magdalene stood outside the tomb crying tears of grief and bewilderment (John 20:10-18). After Stephen was stoned to death, godly men buried his body and “mourned deeply for him” (Acts 8:2).
The apostle Paul told the Ephesian elders, “I served the Lord with great humility and with tears.” He said, “Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears” (20:19, 31). When he finished talking with the elders, “he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him” (vv. 36, 37). These grown men, toughened by years of hardship but bound together by a common faith and purpose, were not ashamed to express heartfelt love for each other and for the Lord.
Hearts for the Lost
Of course we cry when we ourselves are hurt, but do we care enough to cry when someone else has wandered far from God? The psalmist said, “Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed” (Psalm 119:136). Does it bother us when God’s law is disobeyed? Do we even notice it anymore?
Are we like “Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard),” as it says in 2 Peter 2:7, 8? Or are we so accustomed to living in a culture adrift from God that we have become hard-hearted and insensitive, unable to feel any sorrow over the spiritual brokenness of our nation and our neighbors?
When is the last time you and I shed a tear for someone who desperately needs the Lord?
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of The Lookout.
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for June 17, 2012
2 Kings 4, 5
2 Kings 6, 7
2 Kings 8, 9
2 Kings 10, 11
2 Kings 12, 13
2 Kings 14, 15