What Our Tears Can Teach Us

Pastor Mike Schumann

Tears can teach us much about life — The Bible is a book that is full of them — from Abraham, to David, Job, to Jeremiah, and on, and on — The Bible is a book that is full of tears — tears which fell from the eyes of men and women of the past, often, for the same reason they fall from the eyes of men and women in the present, namely, the felt distance between how we want the world to be, and how it actually is.

We want the world to be a place where people to live, but we see they die.

We want the world to be a place where relationships flourish, but they fail.

We want the world to be a place filled with love, truth, freedom, but we see hate, lies, and slavery.

We picture what we want the world to be, and we see what the world actually is, and when the distance between the two is felt — we weep.

Does our weeping glorify God? Perhaps it doesn’t — after all, as Christians, we know that the world is not as it should be, but we also know that a better world is coming — one where death, and pain, and crying will be no more. We know that. And because we know it, perhaps we shouldn’t weep.

Perhaps we should just trust God, trust in his promises, and walk dry-eyed through the world. Perhaps if we weep along the way it shows we aren’t trusting God enough, we aren’t holding onto his promises enough. Perhaps the most faithful Christians in the world are those who do not weep over it.

You know what I think Jesus would say to that? I think he’d say this, “I wept for Lazarus...when he died”. Lazarus, Jesus’ friend, had died. His sisters were sorrowful. His community was mourning. Jesus walked into that context, of John 11, knowing full well he was about to raise Lazarus back from the dead, restore his life back to him, give him back to his people. Jesus knew all of this, and before he did any of it, he wept. 

The Bible’s tears, and Jesus’ tears, teach us something about our own lives, and about our own tears — namely, it is right to have them. It is right, at times, to weep. It is right to cry, it is right to mourn the fact that this world is not as it should be. It is right to have tears which cry “Come lord Jesus, and come soon, make this world right again!”

Tears which say, Jesus, we rejoice in what you’ve done, we trust in what you have promised to do, and, we also weep while we wait for your promises to be realized in this world.