“She’s such a cry baby!” These were words often used in describing me when I was a little girl. This title was given to me because of the extreme emotional nature others felt that I exhibited in response to various situations. I used to hate how easily I cried. I wanted to be “tough” like other girls I knew who appeared to have greater control of their tear ducts. I remember moments when my fair skin would turn beet red as I struggled to hold back the tears burning in my soul, waiting to be released. I hated the fact that for many of the people that I related to, tears were a sign of weakness.
When I was entering early adulthood, my emotional nature and my tears became a source of anxiety for my mother. Having experienced some pains of her own, she was always afraid that people would take advantage of my free flowing tears. I think she wished that I had more of a value system like a very popular television commercial of the time, “never let them see you sweat!” She would have added a slight edit, “Never let them see you cry!” My mother was probably very similar to me in nature, but had learned over the years to toughen up her sweet tender heart. I believed she was afraid to allow a tear to shed for fear that she would never stop crying. The pains, disappointments and betrayals of her life had been many.
As I began to deepen my relationship with Christ, I learned some very important things about the value of tears.
- Shedding tears signifies something has worth – Jesus wept for his friend Lazarus because he loved him. (John 11:35) Jesus being fully God and fully man is a great model to us. As God, he knew that he was all powerful and would raise Lazarus to life again; however, in his manhood, he empathized with the grief of those around him who loved Lazarus. In Roman 12:15 it says, rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. The relationship Jesus had with Lazarus and his sisters had value to him. In the world, we experience contrary teaching that encourages us to just move on and live as if a lost relationship never mattered at all.
- Tears are never wasted: There have been seasons in my life where I shed tears till it felt like the tear ducts went dry. I’ve cried until I couldn’t cry any more. I’ve felt embarrassed by the tears, even though many of them were shed in secret, believing that no one cared, that my tears didn’t matter. But they did matter. They do matter. They matter to God.
You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn
through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in your ledger,
each ache written in your book.
- Tears are strategic in Battle: There are times when tears are shed because we are at our wits end. We just don’t know what else to do. Psalm 56:9 says, “When I cry unto thee, then shall my enemies turn back from me – this I know, God is for me.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are right in all of your choices, but that God is always for us, no matter what the circumstances look like. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know God causes all things to work together for the good of them who love the Lord and are the called according to Purpose.” There is a purpose for every battle and we always win! If God be for you, who can be against you? (vs.31)
- Tears are a wise investment: Every wise investor counts the costs before making an investment. They want to know if the investment will reap benefits in the short term, or if it is a more long term investment. When investing for the long haul, investors realize that the returns may show variable results along the way. When the uncertainty occurs, they stay the course because of the anticipated return. Psalm 126:5 says, “those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” Joy the sense of abiding well being and happiness. Not worldly happiness that is based upon happenstance or circumstance, but that which is born of faith – the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Webster’s dictionary describes tears as secretions that clean and lubricate the eyes. That is essential to our seeing.
So I say to you all, my fellow men and women of God, “Cry baby Cry” – It helps us to see with the eyes of Jesus, to feel what he feels, to allow our hearts to be completely aligned with his heart. If tears are considered to be weakness – great! For Paul said in 2Corinthians 12:10 – …for when I am weak, then am I strong!