Sometimes when I'm deep in prayer, tears flow on their own. Of course, this may happen when I'm crying out in anguish to the Lord--but at other times tears flow freely, even when I'm not in inner pain. The desert fathers of ancient Christianity called this "The Gift of Tears."
Psalm 84:2 says, "My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." Verses 5-7 say:
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
Entering a time of prayer can often be like crossing a vale of tears. Confessing our sins, crying out to God for strength, we move through the thorns of our own self-deception until we cross to the other joyful side. But the blessing is that our tears water the landscape of prayer, turning our pain into beautiful springs and pools.
Instead of our tears indicating weakness, they represent inner growth. Verse 7 says, "They go from strength to strength, till they appear before God in Zion." I saw a tee shirt that said, "Pain is weakness leaving the body." I might say the same thing about tears. They heal us. They make us strong.
Granddad was always taught that real men don't cry. And for a time, he believed this. He kept things bottled up inside. But I remember when Grandmom got sick, and when she died, how he discovered the gift of tears. He lived years beyond her, and I remember many times that he shared that gift of tears with me. I thought it a great blessing that he opened up to me, to share this gift that he'd kept hidden away for so long. Granddad was a strong man, who had been afraid that weeping made him weak. But he discovered, and demonstrated, that tears actually make you strong.
Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus. He cried out to God in Gethsemane. The woman who anointed His feet washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Tears cleanse the soul. They refresh the spirit. Tears are a gift that help you go from strength to strength.
Today, I want to leave you with Amy Grant's "Better than a Hallelujah." I think it has a lot to say about the blessing and gift of tears.
"Better Than A Hallelujah"