I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. Psalm 6:6
Can you relate to the Psalmist? Have you been crying more lately? Maybe your tears flow as a result of a diagnosis. Maybe a wayward child or aging parent is causing distress. Maybe it’s a rocky marriage or recent loss. Maybe anxiety about life and the state of the world has led you to a place of broken-heartedness. Maybe like Jeremiah (known as the “weeping prophet,” by the way) you look around at our sin-stained, covid-raged world filled with angst and confusion and say: “Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people” (Jeremiah 9:1) or “Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed” (Lamentations 3:48).
In your weeping, maybe you’ve been wrestling. Like the Psalmist, in your quiet moments you might be saying: My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:3). Don’t you see these tears, God? Don’t you know my broken heart? Where are you?
The Bible verse we all know is the shortest verse in the Bible. Jesus standing outside Lazarus’ tomb, the familiar verse reads, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Moreover, Jesus looked over sin stained and about-to-crucify-him Jerusalem and the Bible reads: “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it” (Luke 19:4). These passages affirm that tears are not a sin. It’s ok to cry. Jesus was grieving and brokenhearted over death and sin. Tears are the words of grief and sorrow that we cannot verbalize (tears can also be the words of joy and peace we cannot verbalize). Paul wrote: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26). Exactly. There are times, maybe you are you there now, when all we can do is groan and cry. We don’t know what to say or how to pray. Instead of formulating deep theological answers to our dilemma only tears come. In those moments know this: God hears. God knows. God joins us in our brokenness. He understands. Death and sin still bring Him to tears.
The hope of the day is found in the words of the Psalmist: “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy” (Psalm 126:5). It may be dark and gloomy today but as Phineas Bresee was credited as saying, “Joy comes in the morning.” The faithful rely on Jesus and in a Habakkuk-like manner declare, “Nothing seems to be happening. Everything seems bad, ‘yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights’” (Habakkuk 3:18-19).
In your darkest moments trust the Rescuer, Redeemer and Author of our Faith.