“…we sat and wept” Psalm 137:1
There are those who think that we Canadians are too much like our British ancestors because we seek to “keep a stiff upper lip” in the face of adversity. Whether or not that is true may never been known. However, there are a lot of people in pain who work hard to keep from crying over their sad situation.
Is it right to fight the tears and always put on a brave front when out in public? What is it about crying that makes so many people desire to avoid it? Some people can recall that in childhood they were rewarded if they kept from crying when given an injection at the doctor’s office. Others remember hearing the statement, “Only babies cry.” Some people at least, have been programmed not to weep whatever the situation. We tend to regard as brave those who fight back their emotions at the graveside, and other scenes of sorrow.
What is behind our culture’s idea that the best way forward in trials is to keep our emotions in check, at least in public. Other cultures are not embarrassed by a display of emotions so why should we? Perhaps one reason for keeping our emotions in check is how uncomfortable it makes other people feel to see us weep. So, for the sake of others we refrain from what really comes naturally.
God gave us the faculty of tears and we should use them when appropriate. People in pain need to rise above the notion that tears are for sissies. We all have reasons at times for tears and it is a great benefit to release our emotions in this way. It also helps those around us to share with us the sorrow of the situation.
When we read about tears in Psalm 137 the Psalmist is grieving over the enforced captivity and exile he and his people are enduring. He says that they have hung up their harps and can no longer sing because of the destruction of their homeland. Sorrow is all they can feel at the cruel situation they are in.
In various portions of Scripture the people of God weep and do so for many reasons. They weep because others mock their faith since it appears that God has left them (Psalm 42:3). Others wept because of loneliness (Psalm 39:12). Some wept over the suffering in this world (Ecclesiastes 4:1).
Even our Lord wept at times when confronted with the city that rejected Him (Luke 19:41) and at the grave of a beloved Lazarus (John 11:35). There was no hesitation on our Lord’s part about weeping in sorrowful contexts.
A most remarkable promise is given to God’s people concerning the time when tears will no longer be known by us. In Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 7:17; 21:4; we are told that a time will come when God shall permanently remove tears from our lives as He gently wipes them away. It is certainly a fascinating picture of our Creator soothing those who are sorrowful and replacing the tears with joy.
I trust that my readers are looking forward to the great day in the house of God when the family will be gathered home and we shall sit down and feast. Weeping may endure for a night but joy is coming in the morning Psalm 30:5