It seems strange to say “revisiting tears”… Since September 10th, tears have never really left me. Kevin’s passing was sudden and unexpected, and tears remain to be my daily visitors. It is true though… relief often comes after a good cry. Personally, I feel a sense of calm after the tears have flowed freely. A deep breath at the end, a moment of silence, and I can carry on… until the next trigger hits and the waterworks come back with all intensity.
God understood tears. When the people rebelled against YHWH, and revelled in cruelty and dominance, He felt great grief:
How often they rebelled against Him [YHWH] in the wilderness and grieved Him [caused Him grief] in the desert!
Again and again they tempted God, and pained the Holy One of Israel.
Although we don’t have a Biblical example of YHWH in tears, He certainly felt grief and He had compassion for those who cried in sorrow and agony.
Hezekiah, king of Judah, feared for his life, broke down in tears, and cried out in prayer to YHWH. This was YHWH’s response:
2 Kings 20:5-6 (see also Isaiah 38:5)
[YHWH to Isaiah:] “Return and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘This is what YHWH, the God of your father David says: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears [et dim’ateka]; behold, I am going to heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of YHWH. And I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will save you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will protect this city for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.”’”
Tears were effective communicants to God and tearful prayers were repeated throughout the Bible:
[David:] “Hear my prayer, YHWH, and listen to my cry for help; do not be silent to my tears [dim’ati]; for I am a stranger with You, one who lives abroad, like all my fathers.”
We are foreigners in a foreign land. Our real home is meant to be with YHWH. That’s what Eden was all about. But our exile from Eden put us into a wilderness, and we wander in this world far from our intended homeland.
Fortunately, YHWH always had a plan to bring us home. He would send a redeemer to pay the entrance fee back into Paradise.
Job, who suffered more than any other in the Bible, cried endless tears, but his faith in his Redeemer held him up:
“Yet as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last, He will take His stand on the earth.
Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I will see God.”
God would come to earth, and He would swallow up death. He promised to take our tears of mourning and turn them into tears of joy.
He [YHWH] will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord YHWH will wipe tears [dim’ah] away from all faces, and He will remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth; for YHWH has spoken.
And it will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is YHWH for whom we have waited; let’s rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”
In John’s great vision, inspired from the Isaiah passage, he saw the beautiful ending for God’s plan of redemption. Those who suffered would suffer no more:
Revelation 7:16-17 (see also Revelation 21:4)
“They will no longer hunger nor thirst, nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear [Greek: dakryon] from their eyes.”
Who was the Lamb who would lead them to the water of life, and stop their tears from flowing? John the Baptist pointed to Yeshua and said: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29b). Yeshua was like a sacrificial Passover Lamb, an intercessor for sin. His sacrifice would pay the price for us to truly live.
The author of the book of Hebrews spoke of Yeshua’s tears and connected His tears to the salvation of humanity:
In the days of His (Jesus’) humanity, He offered up both prayers and pleas with loud crying and tears [Greek: dakryon] to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His devout behavior. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey Him, being designated by God as High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
We know that Yeshua wept (see John 11:35). He wept at the loss of a friend (Lazarus) and His heart ached for the people around Him. He sacrificed Himself so that one day the tears would stop for everyone.
Until that day, let the tears flow and cry out to God in your sorrow… for He listens and wants to comfort all who put their faith in Him.
Psalm 42:1-4, 8
As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?
My tears [dim’ati] have been my food day and night, while they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
I remember these things and pour out my soul within me. For I used to go over with the multitude and walk them to the house of God, with a voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude celebrating a festival….
…YHWH will send His goodness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life.
For more on the Bible and tears, click below:
Next week: Deliverance/Escape