Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. — Psalm 34:18
I would be surprised if you have gotten through this deployment without any tears.
Tears when your spouse left; tears during the long months of separation; tears at special occasions when your loved one’s presence is especially missed . . . tears matter.
Tears matter to God.
A couple years ago I read the daily devotion on A Slice of Infinity, a favorite of many (from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries), which was entitled “The Language of Tears.” I have never forgotten it, and saved the copy. I think it will be an encouragement to you, because your tears do matter to God.
Here’s what part of the writing said, “Many times, our response to tears is to admonish them away. ‘Don’t cry,’ ‘be thankful’ or ‘look on the bright side’ are dismissive statements, as much as they are meant to comfort. Yet, there are so many moments in life that cannot be expressed or soothed by words. They are too deep, too visceral to be simply captured by a clever turn of phrase. Instead, tears are the necessary articulation of our hearts, speaking out the groans too deep to be uttered.
“Indeed, tears are a language of their own. Whenever I am tempted to dismiss them or to try to overcome them, I am encouraged towards their free expression because of the way in which my Christian faith values them. Throughout the sacred pages of Scripture, there are tears. The tears of the grieving, the weary, and even the joyful—tears speak what the mouth cannot say.” (A Slice of Infinity, October 9, 2012)
Here are some Scripture verses about tears. Think about how important God views them:
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
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth. — Isaiah 25:8
For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you. — 2 Corinthians 2:4
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed. — Revelation 21:4
And don’t forget the story of the woman in Luke 7:36-50 who wet Jesus’ feet with her tears. And when Jesus’ wept at the tomb of Lazarus in John 11 . . . and over the city of Jerusalem in Luke 19.
Nancy Guthrie, in her great devotional The One Year Book of Hope, writes: “Some see tears not only as a loss of control but also as a lack of faith. It is as if the physical manifestation of tears gives evidence of a spiritual deficiency—that if our faith was big enough or deep enough or developed enough, we simply wouldn’t be this sad . . . But when you’ve lost something or someone who is valuable to you, when you have been forced to let go of a dream or live within a nightmare—that is something to be sad about. So let yourself be sad. And know that God does not discount or dismiss your tears. They are precious to him because you are precious to him.” (p. 3)
And because we are precious to God, tears are not the end of our story. Nancy Guthrie concludes: “Picture in your mind right now the Lord of the universe reaching down to gently and lovingly wipe away your tears. He doesn’t ignore them or tell you that if you really had faith you wouldn’t cry. He wipes them away. And Revelation 21:4 tells us that not only will he wipe away tears, he will remove all of the sorrow that caused them. God’s plan for the future is to destroy forever the evil that has brought you so much pain and then to live forever with you in a place he has lovingly prepared where there will be no more tears.” (p. 3)
The psalms are filled with instances where the writer is crying out to God, and then the “hinge” verse turns everything around in proclamation to the faithfulness and goodness of God. For example, in Psalm 31:10, 14 and 15 we read: “I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Sin has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within . . . But I am trusting you, O LORD, saying ‘You are my God!’ My future is in your hands.”
Trust in the faithfulness of God is the hinge on which our heart turns. Lubricated by tears oftentimes, we can turn from despair on one side to an almighty God whose love is powerfully unshakeable yet tenderly compassionate. And we find hope on the other side.
Pray: “My Tear Collector, sometimes you seem so far away, it’s hard for me to grasp that you are sad with me. Give me the faith to see you now beside me and to see a future in which your hand will wipe away my tears forever.” (p. 3)
Guthrie, Nancy, “Your Tears Matter to God,” The One Year Book of Hope (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, 2005), p. 3.
“The Language of Tears” by Margaret Manning, A Slice of Infinity, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, October 9, 2012
Questions to Share:
1. When have you cried during this deployment? Did you sense that God cared about those tears?
2. When brokenhearted or lonely, it is easy to turn to Facebook or friends or TV. Scripture encourages us to turn to His word: “I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word.” (Psalm 119:28) What does Psalm 145 say to comfort your soul and restore your hope?