"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book."
- Psalm 56:8 NLT
I've often thought that tears were a gift from God, but I didn't realize just how precious a gift they were until my husband, Joe, was unemployed and at home full time for many months. During that period, I still had my daily quiet times with the Lord, but I never let myself cry as I poured my heart out to Him, which was unusual for me. It wasn't long before I noticed myself getting more and more tense, irritable, and depressed. I didn't make the connection between my negative feelings, and restraining my tears, until my husband was away for a weekend, and I was able to openly weep before the Lord in prayer. That's when I realized what a release and relief my tears provided, and how much better I felt after a good cry.
I've known people who refuse to weep, and my heart goes out to them. They are depriving themselves of a blessing from the Lord that He never meant them to reject. The Bible says, "Jesus wept." (John 11:35) And it also says that there's "a time to weep," as well as "a time to laugh." (Ecclesiastes 3:4) Not only did Jesus cry, but He told us, "Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh." (Luke 6:21 NKJV) Our tears are so precious to God that He lovingly takes note of each and every one. Scripture says: "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book." (Psalm 56:8 NLT)
When my son, John, was just a young boy, our pet guinea pig died. Our whole family cried over the loss, except for John. Even though he was overcome with grief, he refused to let himself cry. I instinctively knew that this was unwise and unhealthy, so I pleaded with him to open up and share his true feelings with me. But he flatly refused every time. Years later, John was involved in two car accidents in one weekend. As he poured his heart out to me, he broke down and cried in my arms. Deeply moved by his tears, I began to pray and ask God to not only intervene on my son's behalf, but to do so in a mighty way. Twenty-four hours later, John was driving a brand new car home, as the Lord birthed a miracle out of his misery.
Most Bible translations accurately reveal a remarkable connection between verses 8 and 9 of Psalm 56. The New International Version says: "Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll--are they not in your record? Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help." The word, "then," in most translations indicates that because the psalmist was moved to tears by his troubles, God was moved to act on His behalf.
I have done some of my best praying while I was crying. And I know that opening myself up to the Lord in this way has always brought me closer to Him. I've discovered that having a good cry can restore, renew, and reinvigorate us. It can energize us and cleanse us, even of negative emotions. It's a healthy form of release and relief, and it can even have a tranquilizing effect on us. And it is often an important part of the healing and recovery process when we are hurt or disappointed, or when we suffer a loss. Sometimes when I cry, I can almost hear my inner self saying, "Thanks--I needed that!" What's stopping you from reaping the benefits of this precious gift from God? My prayer for you today is that you'll open up before the Lord, and discover for yourself that, "You're blessed when the tears flow freely"! (Luke 6:21 MSG)
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I looked upon Your precious gift of tears with indifference or disdain. Give me a new awareness of the ways that weeping can minister to me. Thank You that as I embrace this special gift with all my heart, I will reap the healing, the comforting, and the uplifting that You have for me!
- J. M. Farro