A while back I discovered a treasure trove of classic contemporary Christian music on Youtube; playlists loaded with all the artists I listened to on Christian radio when I was a kid, like Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Dallas Holme, and the Imperials (sheesh, I’m really showing my age with this post). I spent a few days going through these lists, basking in the nostalgia they brought.
I came across one song that I had completely forgotten about: “The Warrior is a Child,” by Twila Paris. I smiled as it played, remembering the time one of my friends in fifth grade sang it in the school talent show (I didn’t go to a Christian school, just a small rural school where Christian music was really popular among the upper elementary and junior high set). Then I got to this line:
“I dropped my sword and cried for just a while/’cause deep inside this armor the warrior is a child.”
And I had to pause the video, because that’s when it hit me:
God never tells us not to cry.
We get admonished a lot for crying in our culture. From a young age we’re told that big girls (or boys) don’t cry. Unless it’s for socially acceptable reasons like intense grief, intense joy or intense pain, crying is seen as weak–and even in those cases, it’s pretty much only allowed for women.
Parents tell us not to cry. Teachers, coaches, bosses and other authority figures, too. And then there’s that old gem, “If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to really cry about.”
I heard that one a lot as a kid. Maybe you did, too.
I’m an emotional woman with a chronic hormonal imbalance. I tend to cry more often than I’d like to admit.
And I’m always ashamed. I usually hide and try to do it silently. When I can’t, I always feel the need to apologize to whoever sees me (usually my husband).
But never one time does the Bible ever tell us that we shouldn’t cry.
In fact, it does the opposite. Ecclesiastes tells us that there’s an appropriate time to cry. In Romans 12:15, the Apostle Paul tells us to weep with those who are weeping. The Lord himself is recorded as crying not just once, but twice in the gospels. We’re never told that Jesus smiled, or laughed, but twice we’re shown Him being moved to tears.
Psalm 56:8 tells us that God not only sees our tears, He saves them in a bottle and records them in His book.
It never says that we’d better have a good reason for shedding them, either.
God understands that the human condition is often hard and painful and frustrating, and sometimes we just need to get it all out of our system.
Unlike even the most loving earthly parents, our heavenly Father has the patience to allow our breakdowns and tantrums to run their course. He doesn’t admonish our fits, or try to hush us up, or threaten us to make us stop.
Instead, He stays with us, counting every tear until we’re done; and then He gathers us in His loving embrace, wipes our tears and comforts us with encouragement and peace.
Giving us the strength we need to pick our sword back up and fight another day.
That’s the kind of Father God wants to be to us, if we’ll let Him.
So don’t hide your tears, beloved. Instead, give them to God. He knows what to do with them.
PS – Here’s that video, for those who don’t know the song (or those who enjoy a good throwback):
PPS – This week I’m once again joining in at Holley Gerth’s blog for the Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up! Be sure to stop by for more encouraging posts like this one.