A Long Season of Tears

It’s often said that it’s unhealthy to “bottle up” our emotions. By this, most mean that we should not restrain or hold back our emotions, especially our tears. We should have an outlet to express our sorrows and pains. Of course, there are unhealthy outlets we might use to deal with our emotions–food, drink, lashing out, closing ourselves off from others. But there are also some very healthy and helpful ways in which we might let out our emotion–journaling, prayer, engaging with those whom we have some conflict, talking with family or friends or a counselor. And of course, some cry, and that’s okay. Nancy Guthrie has said, “Tears are a gift that God gives us to help wash away the deep pain that we feel and experience from living life in the brokenness of this world.”

I’ve had to give myself permission to cry. As a recovering tomboy, I’ve always viewed crying as a sign of weakness, of being a wimpy woman. I’ve conditioned myself to believe that if I can stop the tears, I can stop the pain. I’ve told myself that crying never solves anything and I just need to toughen up so I can move on. None of this is true. There’s nothing wrong with crying. Our tears are an acknowledgement of our weakness and utter dependence on the Lord to handle our pains and sorrows. Over and over in God’s Word, He beckons us to cry out to Him. He promises to hear. He promises to answer. He promises relief and peace and joy in the midst of our most difficult circumstances. He says, “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you ()”.

There is a place for our tears that can guard us from despair and solidify our commitment to live at peace among our Christian family. Scripture tells us that our tears are not wasted. In fact, God keeps every one of them. He remembers their occasion (). He hears the prayers behind our tears. He knows the hurt that give occasion to our tears. He sees them and He stores them up. As our tears pour out, His peace pours into our hearts. Our tears are a kind of sowing, in which the seeds of sorrow for sin, empathy for the plight of others, enduring suffering or trouble, take root and at season’s end, produce a harvest of joy ().

Since , we have been in one very long season of tears. Our world is broken because of sin, so there is much to cry out to God for. But our tears are temporary. They are of this world. This season will one day be over. The Lord will wipe away tears from all faces (Is 25:8). There will be no more mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore (). Weeping may endure for the night, but joy will come in the morning (). May this hope bind our hearts together in love as we wait for this season of tears to end, and to enter into an everlasting season of joy.

“Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord, (ESV)

You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book? (ESV)

Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy! (ESV)

3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (ESV)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (ESV)

For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning. (ESV)

Kristie Anyabwile
Kristie Anyabwile is the wife of Thabiti, who serves as a pastor at Anacostia River Church (Washington DC). She is the joyful mother of two daughters and one son.

C’mon Up!