March 12, 2021
And when they [Job’s friends] saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept…
My dad was a “stiff-upper-lip” kind of guy. “Deal with it!” he would often say when we complained about something. He thought showing weakness was… well, a sign of weakness.
And he was not a big fan of crying.
I remember a lot of great moments with my father, and for that I’m grateful. Most of my memories with Dad are warm – he really loved us and we knew it. But I also remember his shouting. One thing in particular he shouted at me often was “Stop that #&@* crying!” I wept easily as a child, and Dad didn’t like that. So, he tried to squish it out of me with his shouts.
But tears are not a sign of weakness, and God is not a “stiff-upper-lip” kind of guy! Tears are signs of burden, of pain, of compassion. These are integral parts of God’s character. Instead of casting out crying in a show of false bravado, I think God would more likely have us embrace it.
Job’s friends did not hesitate to cry when they saw him in his misery. Scripture exhorts us to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). Even Jesus cried when he saw some of his dearest friends overwhelmed by their grief at Lazarus’ death (John 11:35). Crying is not just okay, crying is good, crying is necessary, crying is a healthy and fruitful part of God’s plan for us as we struggle through life in this broken world. And if God is a God of strength, then crying is a part of that strength, and not a weakness. At all.
When we cry with others who are hurting, we are like an extension of God’s strength into their lives. In a way we become part of God’s presence to help them in their time of need. So consider your family and community today. How might you be that kind of extension of God this week?