I’m tired of all this—so tired. My bed
has been floating forty days and nights
On the flood of my tears.
My mattress is soaked, soggy with tears.
(Psalm 6:6, The Message)
[The book of psalms is our songbook of life—in celebration or grief, in confidence or confusion, in joy or anger or despair. I invite you to read and reflect on these songs of life wherever YOU are this week. Read the psalm, read my reflection below, then consider posting and sharing your own observations at the bottom of the page.Today’s devotion is adapted from the post on September 13, 2018]
The Power of Tears
Most of us don’t like to cry. It’s usually inconvenient, sometimes embarrassing, and always vulnerable. There is never a convenient time to be overwhelmed by our tears! Crying takes time and spends emotional energy. It communicates something to the people around us, but we aren’t usually in control of the message. Crying can surprise us, disarm us, even incapacitate us. So, we tell our newborn daughters that they don’t need to cry, and we tell our big boys that they’re not supposed to.
Scientists tell us that crying is a uniquely human thing. It is a physical response to an emotional stimulus. Humans can shed tears of joy as well as sadness; we can cry from pleasure as well as pain, relief as well as fear. Dogs might whimper, growl, bark or chase their tails…but they can’t cry.
King David was a remarkable leader, a powerful warrior…and an inconsolable crier!
Psalm 6 begins with David deep in personal prayer: “Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger…have mercy on me, for I am faint…heal me, for I am in pain…deliver me from my enemies.” David realizes that he is not in control of his situation and so he cries—literally—to God for help. And by the end of this short song he is confident that God has heard his weeping and accepted his prayer.
St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) said “There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered ones.” Is it possible that God actually wants us to cry? Is there something spiritually effective about relinquishing control, becoming vulnerable and weeping at his feet?
In Luke’s gospel, Jesus visits the home of a powerful religious man. While he is there a woman comes in, sits at his feet and weeps. Jesus’ host is annoyed and angered by her behavior, but Jesus sets him straight.
Simon, do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. (Luke 7:44)
This same Jesus wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35), over the spiritual blindness of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41), and even over the enormous weight of his mission (Hebrews 5:7). He allowed himself to be moved by his grief…by his holy frustration…in his impassioned prayer. By being fully human and fully divine, Jesus offers us God’s personal invitation to weep over the sin and pain of this world.
Are you tired of it all: fed up with the world, fed up with yourself, fed up with God? Try letting go of your need to be in control. Go and sit the feet of Jesus and cry a flood of tears in prayer. Let him know you are helpless but not hopeless, desperate but not defeated. And be confident that He hears your weeping.
It’s another morning for prayer. Start giving all those problems to God right now. Keep it close, keep it real, and keep thirsting for His Living Water.