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Tears. They are a part of life. We cry when we are sad or mourning a loss. We cry when we are fearful. We even cry tears of joy. God created us to experience emotion. He hears our cry and sees every tear we shed.
So where can we find tears in the Bible and what does the Bible say about tears?
Tears are a fairly common theme throughout the Bible, in fact, in the KJV (I have not found any resources which provide word counts for the NIV or other translations):
- the word – tear – appears 13 times*
- the word – tears – appears 36 times*
- *(although the word tear or tears can also denote rip or ripping)
- the word – cried – appears 199 times
- the word – cries – appears once
- the word – criest – appears 5 times
- the word – crieth – appears 17 times
- the word – cry – appears 181 times
- the word – crying – appears 31 times
Tears in the Bible
Tears are a Part of Our Human Life and Experience
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance Ecclesiastes 3:4
God has created us to be emotional beings. We laugh, we shout, we cry. Our world is a sinful one. A fallen one. There is plenty to cry about including loss, death, fear, disappointment – even joy. Crying is our emotional response to situations we face as humans. It’s ok to cry, in fact, we can be comforted knowing that God created us to cry, at times. Sometimes we can’t help our tears, but often crying will help us to be refreshed and even restored. Have you ever felt better after a “good cry”?
Tears are Temporary
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Most of us don’t cry 24/7. There is a time laugh and a time to cry. Crying is only temporary. As believers, we cry and feel sadness, but we also have hope in Christ and know His promises to us. When we cry, we know that we can wipe our tears and press on because He hold us in the palm of His hand. We are even instructed to rejoice in mourning and trials because we know that God has plans for us and is making all things work together for our good.
God Sees Our Tears
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
Many of us don’t want others to see us cry, but God sees our tears (even those we cry in secret or behind closed doors). He knows our pain, our hurts and disappointment. He mourns with us and is there with us an for us. Our tears should bring us to our knees in front of Our Heavenly Father to remind us that we need Him and He loves us.
God Cares About Our Tears
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
Have you ever cried in front of someone who just doesn’t seem to care about your tears? That is not the case with The Lord. He cares about you and your tears. His fatherly compassion draws Him near to the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).
God Will Turn Our Tears Into Joy
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
As the disciples were crying, Jesus said to them “Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy”. Our tears will dry up. Our hurting will diminish. Our grief and disappointment will soften. If you are experiencing a time of sadness now, it may be hard to believe that. But if we believe in God, we can cling to Him during the pain and grief and rest knowing that one day, He will turn our tears to joy.
Tears are One of the Punishments for the Wicked and Unbelievers
There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.
It’s hard to even think about how much crying, weeping and tears we’ll see at judgement time. Those that turned their hearts from God will regret, but won’t be able to go back. Their mourning, their weeping, will last throughout eternity. (If you know someone who continues to resist God, now is a great time to commit to praying for them daily until they are saved in Jesus’ name!)
Jesus Shed Tears
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. John 11:33-35
Jesus was both Lord man man. He was Sovereign, yet experienced the same emotions that we do. He also experienced sadness and a deep desire for people to turn from sin. When Jesus cried, the crowd noticed and expressed how much Jesus loved Lazarus. He also cried when He saw the pain of those He loved. He hurt. His spirit hurt – for us. Have you cried when someone you loved was hurting? Jesus cries for the brokenhearted, too. He weeps with us.
Tears of Believers Will Be Wiped Away Forever
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
When we are in the muck and mire of pain and hurt, it may be hard to believe that one day, in heaven, we will never cry again. God has prepared a place for His children. In this glorious paradise there will be no more sorrow or mourning. There will be peace, joy, happiness for all eternity. We won’t need to cry because we will enjoy fellowship with God forever.
God Remembers Our Tears
Record my misery;
list my tears on your scroll—
are they not in your record?
God sees us cry, he cares that you are crying and he even collects our tears. They are written on His scroll. There are times when I felt that God must have volumes just for my tears, but, according to the Bible, there are no wasted tears for those who trust in God. He allows us to hurt and to cry out to Him so that we can find peace in Him. He wants us to feel His presence even in the chaos, pain and trials of this life – especially in those times. When we cry, we need to cry out in faith and not despair so that our hearts can be made whole in Him.
The next time you cry. Remember the verses about tears in the Bible and be encouraged that God loves you. He cares about your tears and will wipe your tears away. Your tears will be turned into joy.
I highly recommend this book, Tears on My Bible, for a fresh perspective on tears, grief, pain and resting in the hope of our Savior.
Because of Him,