When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. Psalm 84:6 NLT
The tears flowed only inward—if then.
I grew up in a home where tears rarely appeared. I never remember my father crying—not even when he performed his grandmother, mother, and father’s funerals. Nor when some church members he pastored treated him in unkind ways. Perhaps he did when he had his quiet moments with God, but never in front of me.
Nor did I ever witness my mother cry. Not when she lost her father and mother. Or when one of us three boys would do something stupid that got us in trouble. Or when one of our marriages fell apart. No tears of sadness. No tears of joy.
I suppose my parents got this honestly because I never saw their parents cry either—and I spent enough time with both sets of grandparents to notice.
So, I followed suit. No tears. Not outwardly at least. But I was a crier. Inwardly. When I watched a sad movie. When a pet died. I’d secretly wipe the tears, hoping no one noticed them streaming down my face.
The change came when Dad died. As the music played at his funeral, I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. They flooded from my eyes. Loud wails pushed from my throat. I’d never experienced this type of grief before.
According to the psalmist, those on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem would find joy even as they passed through the Valley of Weeping.
God has a way of bringing joy from tears—tears we shouldn’t hold back in times of sorrow and in times of joy. Society once taught boys not to cry. Doing so wasn’t manly. Perhaps my grandparents taught my dad that. But tears bring a cleansing to our souls, especially in times of sorrow. Our pent-up emotions are released. Stress is released. Tears help joy return.
Tears demonstrate empathy when we shed them for others. They also demonstrate our trust that God controls the situation bringing the tears. We trust His judgment … and timing.
Tears don’t mean we’re happy about what we’re crying about. Happiness and joy differ. Happiness depends on the circumstances. We can experience joy regardless of the circumstances by remembering God is in control.
Go ahead. Shed those tears. God will gently dap them away and give you a new perspective.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the tears that cleanse our souls.
Tweetable: Have you discovered joy from tears?
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