Marching into April Showers
“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Romans 12:15 “A time to weep, and a time to laugh: a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:4 "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." Psalms 126:5
I once had an exasperated student accuse, “Don’t you ever cry?” I was a little taken back and startled. It was true that I really didn’t like to cry in public and did so rarely, but to be straight forward asked I responded with a sheepish smile, “No- My heart is just two sizes too small.” It then kind of became a running joke. If you have a daughter or work with young and teenage girls you understand quickly the value in keeping a stock of tissues built up in random places.
Looking back I can’t blame her, my students only saw the mentor. They didn’t understand when I was with them I fought hard to compartmentalize my world so that I could be there for them when theirs was falling apart. I learned reading my Bible when I was young that if you are to lead, your emotions can’t rule your actions. I learned that a leader’s emotions, however rational, can cause the people who depend on or follow them to falter, fail, or fall. (Sorrow-2 Samuel 19:2) (Fear-Genesis 20:2, Exodus 32:21,35) (Greed-Joshua 7:1)
“ The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.” 1 John 2:10
I learned young to be very careful where I led anyone. That is not to say all expressions of emotion are bad or wrong. I’ve personally laughed until I’ve cried, and Jesus is reported to have cried more than once at the sight of lost sheep. And let us not forget that Jesus used a whip to clear out the temple. What I learned is there is a time for everything. Timing is everything. I prayed long and hard to not be used to encourage anyone into sin.
Truth be told, I wanted to abide in the Light more for them than myself. Can’t explain it. But I feel the weight of Judah to say, “If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my Father forever.” I know I will answer one day for my stewardship of His lambs, and I don’t want my mistakes, sin, or lack of faith to cause those I loved the pain of sin.
So that brings me back to the original question:
“Don’t you ever cry?”
Perhaps my response to say, "I used too." wasn’t that helpful for them, but how do you explain learning to compartmentalizing emotion to a teenage girl? Casting all your cares upon Him takes a little longer to learn and live than a camp devotional (1 Peter 5:7). Returning to rest in the Lord is something that only the Holy Spirit can bring. It may be a simple truth, but it can feel impossible.
“Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” Psalms 116:8
Like most things in my Christian life, I learned this lesson backwards.
I was the youngest of 3 and learned early to control my tears long before my fears. Controlling a physical reaction to emotion is so much easier than pulling up the root. For me, it was usually fear or a lack of faith. I learned to control my tears long before I learned how to give God my fears. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalms 56:3
I learned it backwards.
The Four Seasons song my older brother used to sing to me said at the end of the song, “ Shame on you, you told a lie. Big girls DO cry.” The truth is I’ve always cried. Successful compartmentalizing for leadership isn’t becoming the Tin Man (no heart). It is trusting your soul and spirit to the Holy Spirit. “For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth.”
Confession: I’ve always cried when I prayed. When I shut out everything to hear only the Holy Spirit, tears form every time.
My confession startled my student. She pondered this information for a moment and said, “I guess I have never really looked at you during invitation before.” I said well that is good, you should be praying too!
She giggled. Needless to say, she peeked to confirm the next chance she got.
The reality is simple.
I had to unlearn the pride and fear that kept my emotions from moving me to tears.
I had to learn the difference between being moved by and ruled by.
The first two fruits of the Spirit, Love(Agape) and Joy, often move me to tears.
Tears are simply the price of bearing fruit.
I learned sown in tears can lead to reaping in joy. Psalms 126:5
I don’t try to hide the tears that flow when the Holy Spirit opens my eyes and moves me with compassion anymore. I don’t hide the tears sliding down my face from looking forward to the joy of seeing people accept Jesus as their Savior.
I don’t know how anyone could compartmentalize the Agape or Joy that the Holy Spirit supplies Christians with to see the lost saved.
So the real answer to the question:
“Don’t you ever cry?”
When I pray.
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:16
May those April showers of tears soon have you reaping in joy.