My favorite place to retreat used to be my master bedroom closet. No matter how large or how small, I could always somehow squeeze myself, a pillow, a journal, and my bible into that 4’ x 6’ space. Oh, Kleenex accompanied me too. The dimly lit closet felt safe and the canopy of clothes overhead created an aura of coziness. And best of all, my kids never thought of looking for “Mom” in the closet!
Why did I find the closet so desirable? I needed a place to deal with life’s hurts and disappointments, my anger and frustration. In quiet seclusion I could share conversations with God, sorting through reasons why I was in the closet. Allowing my emotions to surface, and having a good cry, cleanses my heart and heals my soul. Tears are like words the heart cannot express.
To be honest, I really don’t like “losing it,” or some say be “reduced to tears.” That implies weakness of character. Quite the opposite. Getting in touch with our sorrow, pain and needs, requires slowing down enough to cry out to God. It calls for honesty, humility and courage.
When David was rejected, slandered, pursued, and threatened on all sides, he chose to cry out to God in prayer. “Wicked and deceitful men have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer” (Psalm 109:2-4).
Rolling our painful emotions onto God wards off heaviness that breeds physical distress. Crying tears of bitterness to God stops that ugly poison from spreading or becoming deeply rooted. Tears of guilt over regrettable mistakes rid guilt of growing into depression and anxiety. Sorrowful losses coupled with tears prepare the soul for His tender touch. Tears water our soul, washing away harmful debris so we can experience fullness of life. I like what a Jewish proverb says, “What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.”
We can trust the Lord with our tears. He is our Savior “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” and an Intercessor “He offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears” (Isaiah 53:3; Hebrews 5:7). God sympathizes with our weaknesses and showers compassion on all His creation. (Psalm 145:9) Whenever we feel sorrow, grief and suffering, God rushes to our side, cups our grief and “puts our tears in His bottle” (Psalm 56:8).