“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) This is the shortest verse in the Bible, and the one that, in 2 simple words, shows the heart of Jesus. He cries. Not just cries but He weeps! This speaks to me about the humanness in the God man. This makes my heart feel accepted and understood.
Let’s talk about crying. Some people do it easily and often; others try their hardest not to shed a tear. Some view crying as weak, especially when seen in boys. We tell our children – stop those tears! Wipe your eyes! Dry those tears! Don’t be a baby! Big boys don’t cry! And yet, Jesus Christ King of Kings and Lord of the universe, wept.
My granddaughter of 4 years old, asked me a question that I could tell she had thought about before she asked. “Nani, do grownups cry?” I answered, “Well yes. Yes they do.” To which she said, “Why?” I explained we cry when we are sad, or mad, or happy. She absolutely could not understand – at all – that adults cry. She knew she did and her baby brother did, but we grownups? Nah, we don’t cry. I tried hard to think how to explain that adults often tend to cry in private. We generally aren’t sobbing our eyes out in public, and not without good reason. If our tears start leaking out during a sappy movie or a tender moment, we even try to wipe them away – as if we really don’t want anyone to see us cry. Why is this? Why do we as adults avoid crying like it is the plague?
Let’s Explore the Phenomenon of Tears
First of all, we need to cry. Because it is coupled with emotions, it is a good outlet for feelings. You have probably heard it said that you will feel better after you have a good cry. This is true. Because crying is an expression of emotions, when it is held back, it is like rocks holding back a channel of water from flowing freely.
I know this from personal experience. When my husband passed away, it was like I literally sucked up every tear in my body and refused to release a one! I was Wonder Woman in the making and crying was not something I was going to entertain, nor was anyone going to have pity on me, the new widow. I would be everything and more, and all without shedding a tear.
Here is a true fact – I did not grieve my husband’s death (by way of tears and deep weeping) for a full 5 years. Count them – 18.104.22.168.5. The more I held it together, the worst I was actually doing emotionally. I am pretty sure looking back that I was unknowingly falling down a rabbit hole of oblivion and if I didn’t let go of my emotions and my grief, I was going to blow apart.
I finally did blow apart, but thankfully not by hurting myself or anyone else – which can happen when extreme emotions are suppressed too long. One day I went to a random graveyard and parked there. As I gazed over the cold cement stones in the ground, I felt my heart begin to melt. I felt my eyes well up with tears I had not allowed myself to shed. Tears quickly exploded in a weep fest for the next 7 hours, non stop. Yes, I cried for 7 hours – the tears of 5 years – all of them, came forth in free flow.
Guess what? When I left the cemetery that day, I left my Wonder Woman cape there (I wasn’t that good at being a superhero anyways) and I left feeling alive for the first time in a very long time. Tears had cleansed my heart and my soul. Tears. It was the first day of my journey of healing.
There is something amazing about crying. I believe it is actually a sort of language. There is an old song from my youth, which now I understand to be truth. “God sees the tears of a brokenhearted soul. He sees your tears and hears them when they fall. God weeps along with man, and He takes him by the hand. Tears are a language that God understands.” There are times when we are in deep pain and we have no words. It is comforting to know if all we have is tears, that God understands what we feel and cannot express in words.That day I cried for 7 hours, there were no words spoken. That was, however, probably THE single most intimate one-on-one I had with God in my entire life. All birthed from tears.
Psalm 56:8 says, “You keep track of all my sorrows.” To which I say, “wow!”. “You have collected ALL my tears in your bottle.” To which I say, “wow!” “You have recorded each one in your book.” Each.tear. – to which I say, “wow!”
What kind of a God cares about ALL our sorrows and ALL our tears and saves them, and records them? THIS is truly mind blowing. All my pain – all my shame – all my losses – all my mistakes – all my self destructive ways – all my insecurities – all my loneliness – all my despair. God felt each one, saved each tear, and kept track of it all. To which all I can say is, “WOW.” How loved are we?!
So yes, Lily, grownups do cry or at least they NEED to, if they don’t. It is okay to FEEL and to express it through tears. Cry if the movie is sappy – cry if you’re overjoyed – cry if you are saying goodbye – cry if you’re sorry – don’t be afraid to be like Jesus. If it was something He allowed Himself to do, then He knew we would need to do it also.
Jesus wept. I weep too. Speak the language and know that He understands.