Do tears reveal weakness?
Outside of physical reactions to irritants such as gnats trying to bathe on your eyeball, tears reveal strong emotion. They may be inconvenient at times–maybe when we are facing bullies or trying to convince someone that we really don’t give a flying leap what they think. But there are times when tears should flow, and holding in unshed tears is like trying to keep a beach ball under water.
I can imagine all kinds of scenarios in which I would not want to be caught crying. This started at a young age when I preferred playing Tackle-the-Guy-With-the-Ball to dolls or jump ropes. The boys won’t let you play if you cry when you get tackled. And tears are not going to earn you any points in the halls of a junior high school.
But when the doctor told me that my day-old baby was in serious trouble, and I called my husband to tell him, I started crying so hard I couldn’t speak. I had to hand the phone to the doctor and let her give him the bad news.
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)
Why did I burst into tears as soon as I heard my husband’s voice? He was–and still is–my “safe place.” He not only knew my strong love and attachment to this precious little girl we’d been awaiting for nine months, he shared it. And when the doctor hung up, she wiped a tear away from her own eye before affirming my pain with soothing words.
This was the time and place for tears–and there would be many more occasions to shed them as this little baby fought for her life. But I couldn’t stay there crying in my hospital room. There were prayers to be prayed, strength to be received, and decisions to make. Those tears in themselves were a prayer–and God answered with a flood of his own: love, strength, peace, and trust.
If you stop the tears and save them for later, make sure there is a later. If tears are not shed, they don’t dissolve, but work at the foundations of the dam you have constructed until it collapses. So find a safe place to open the flood gates, acknowledge your pain, and cry. The safest place for me is sitting on the lap of God the Father in prayer. He sends his angels to help. Sometimes He takes away the cause for the tears, and sometimes He gives me what I need to deal with the situation.
Do you have a safe place to cry?