I rarely cry. To some, that would look good. Like true composure. But I think I’ve trained myself in a harmful way. “Sadness” is a barely recognizable and identifiable emotion. Instead, it is stifled, along with any hint of tears. Sadness may instead express itself in silence, withdrawal, or anger. Its suppression is actually a manifestation of pride. And I struggle in denial of a God-given emotion, and its expression in tears.
The expression of sadness with tears is never ridiculed or hidden in the Bible. The Bible records the weeping of King David and his army (1 Samuel 30:4), King Saul (1 Samuel 24:16), Jeremiah (Lamentations 3:48-49) and other prophets, the pious Job (Job 16:20), the forefathers Abraham (Genesis 23:2), Jacob (Genesis 33:4), and Joseph (Genesis 45:15), the bold apostle Peter (Matthew 26:75), and even Jesus Himself (John 11:35). Tears recorded in the Bible flowed from grief, fear, pain, shame, prayer, conviction, repentance, reconciliation, relief, and compassion.
A verse has been resonating with me for a while: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). I think our tendency is to attribute this verse to big events… if someone gets married or has a baby, we rejoice with them. If someone is grieving the loss of family, we weep with them. However, the context of the passage is about ongoing daily life together.
Solomon wrote about different times and seasons in Ecclesiastes 3, and in verse 4 references: “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” I believe these “times” can often be seasons, in which we carry deep emotions within. For example, King David prayed in Psalm 6:6, saying, “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with my tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.”
Perhaps you identify with the same lingering sadness. To whom do you turn? Or do you wade through sadness alone?
If the church does life together, what role does it have in one another’s seasons of both happiness AND sorrows?
It is a frightening thing to admit sadness and to vulnerably share your struggle with others. But I believe God strengthens and comforts His children by enabling us to strengthen and comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). The Christian life isn’t meant to be lived in isolation, only to intersect weekly with fellow Christians. What is hindering you? Why should any of us conceal sadness in fear?
Let us also be challenged to love one another enough to reach out and step into others’ lives. Let us be trustworthy, and faithful to persist with others through thick and thin.
Romans 12:15 goes two ways. We must vulnerably share ourselves with others, in the moment-by-moment aspects of life. We must also take interest in others, paying the cost of giving time and self to come alongside others.
Through it all, we look to Jesus together, who is our only Savior, only hope, and who one day “will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes… neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (Revelation 21:4).