Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Autumn is my favorite time of year in spite of facing the inevitable cold and snow of winter. Ah, the scent of decaying poplar leaves, the rustle of dry leaves underfoot, the incredible colors in every tree and shrub. In my mind, I’m a kid rolling in the leaf pile, dancing through the raindrops. Join me! Any tears you shed will be happy tears.



A fine mist hovered in the air one day, gathering into tiny droplets that hung from twigs and bare branches. An occasional, bent branch hosted a single drop at its tip. Like a tear, it remained poised, ready to fall.

We come close to shedding tears, too. They come fast or slowly, unbidden or purposeful.
We cry for ourselves and for others and, depending on our emotional state, we either stoically hold back our tears out of embarrassment or become a blubbering bubble of anguish. We cry when we’re happy, sad, angry, or frustrated.

Many of us have shed tears of despair over a sick child and felt them change to happy tears when the child recovers. We know how good it feels to have a good cry about something upsetting. And who hasn’t shed tears of self-pity or anger? 

The Bible includes over 150 references to the word “weep,” 35 to “tears,” and more than 400 to the word “cry.” God’s people cried aloud often in repentance over their sins, among other reasons. In fact, every revival in the history of Christianity has wrought oceans of tears from sinners who have repented. Jesus Himself wept over the woefully-stagnant, spiritual condition of Israel.

Tears are useless, however, unless followed by action. All the crying in the world for our sins will do no good unless we turn away from them. All the tears we shed for our sick neighbor will bring nothing but soggy tissues unless we follow with acts of mercy and love. All the tears we shed over the ungodly condition of our households, neighborhoods, states, or nations will come to nothing unless we pray and share the love and mercy of Jesus.

We can all rejoice with tears, however, whenever someone repents and turns to Christ. Joy and tears are as inseparable as sorrow and tears. Our tears are used for cleansing, whether we feel joyful or sad.   

Perhaps we use our tears as a sacrifice, believing God wants us to cry. Some people, in fact, turn their tears on or off to suit their purpose. In some cultures, people are hired to cry at funerals. However, God wants us to use our tears for His glory. “I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings,” He says in Hosea 6:6.

Lord, we don’t want to use our tears as useless offerings. Help us turn them into action as a means to show others Your love and mercy, even as You have so graciously shown us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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