Why God Allows His People to WEEP
INTRODUCTION: This evening we are going to complete our series on “A Taste of Heaven.” I took the idea for this series from Fanny Crosby’s hymn “Blessed Assurance” where she wrote in the beginning of the first stanza, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh. What a foretaste of glory divine!”
Now as we read the passage from II Corinthians 4:8-10, 16-18 I want you to take note of several words.
Verses 8-10 "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our body."
Verse 16-18 "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
Do you see those words, “Trouble, perplexed, persecuted, cast down (that is discouraged), faint, outward man perish (our physical problems), and affliction.” I would venture to guess that all of us could say "right on Paul, you have described my life." Sooner or later every single one of us has to face this question, "Why do good people have trouble, pain and suffering?"
Trouble is nothing new to God's people. One who was completely paralyzed from his neck down wrote these words,
Christ is no security against storms.
But He is perfect security IN storms.
He does not promise an easy passage,
But He does guarantee a SAFE landing.
In the midst of life's burdens we have a promise that one day will be ours. It is found in Revelation 21:4,
"And God shall wipe away all TEARS from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor CRYING, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away."
You may be thinking, “Hold it, Pastor, that is for a time to come. One day when we get to heaven, only then ‘God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes,’ but what about now?” We have to say as someone said, "life is a vail of tears."
Sooner or later in each life will come a tragedy or sickness or disappointment which will produce tears. They will flow over the sinfulness of our ways, they will flow over the pain of our suffering, or they will come with the disappointments in life. There is nothing wrong with a good cry.
Job said in Job 16:20, "My friends scorn me, but mine eye poureth out tears unto God."
The Psalmist cried in Psalm 6:6, "I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears."
David in Psalm 42: 2-3 said, "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God…my tears have been my meat day and night…"
The weeping prophet Jeremiah as he looked over the city of Jerusalem in Jeremiah 9:1 said, "Oh, that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people."
Life is beautiful, inspiring and good. But it is also true that life is not all sunshine and roses. There are clouds and thrones and ugly situations, where our hearts are filled with sorrow and disappointments or despair.
It is only human in the face of tears to ask why. However, the supreme attitude toward "beyond the tears" is to realize that GOD IS SOVEREIGN in the affairs of men: Whatever God does is RIGHT – Whatever God does is JUST!
In Psalms 145:17 we read, "The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and Holy in all His works."
In Psalms 34:19 we read, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delievereth him out of them all."
In Romans 8:28 is a great remainder to hang onto, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
The question is,
Will your tears make you better or bitter; richer or poorer; stronger or weaker?
Will your tears be stepping stones to something higher or stumbling blocks to something lower?
Will your tears cause you to be a skeptic, a cynic, an accuser of God, or will your tears help you to have firm faith in the eternal purposes of God?
Only that last attitude can be pleasing to God. It alone offers help to understand if we can go, "Beyond tears." So although your tragedy does hurt and pain you; although suffering does bring tears and at times strong crying, I say to you to throw away your doubts and your skepticism to "Put your faith in a God who doeth all things well."
Dr. Oswald Smith, the great Canadian preacher of missions wrote these words to his daughter in her time of bereavement. Her missionary husband had suddenly died, blasting their hopes and ruining their plans. He said,
God understands your sorrow; He sees the falling tear,
And whispers, "I am with thee." Then falter not, nor fear.
God understands your heartaches, He knows the bitter pain.
Oh, trust Him in the darkness, You cannot trust in vain.
In this message I submit to you FOUR reasons why God allows Tears on this earth.
FIRST: The ministry of tears causes us to place our complete dependence upon God. Nothing will so destroy the arm of flesh as tears. Hear the words of David as he confesses his complete dependence upon the Lord in Psalm 18:1-6:
“I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and CRIED unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my CRY came before him, even into his ears.”
It is this same confession of our utter dependence on the Lord that God desires of each of us. Nothing so creates this dependence upon the Lord as the sufferings and tears.
SECOND: The ministry of tears demonstrates the sufficiency of God's Grace. I think this is one of the most important reasons why God allows His people to weep. We cannot escape the fact that life has its hard places.
Trouble, sorrow and tears are the common lot of all people.
The sinner and saint suffer and weep alike.
Death comes into the homes of both sinner and saint. It has a biting sting to both sinner and saint.
Though tears, suffering and sorrow are the common lot of both sinner and saint, there is, however, a difference in the inward attitude. It was the Apostle Paul who proclaimed in Acts 20:19, "Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and trials. which befell me…"
I don't believe we have enough tears in the ministry while we serve the Lord.
I don't believe we weep enough tears over our sinfulness and pride and glorying in our self-sufficiency.
I don't believe we shed enough tears at the alter, with the hardness of our heart.
God allowed Paul to bear the thorn in his flesh that the grace of God might prove sufficient. God allows us to enter into trials, tests, and sorrow so that His grace may be demonstrated in our lives. It is interesting to note that he never supplies grace until the test has arrived.
THIRD: The ministry of tears causes us to weep for the souls of men and women, boys and girls because of their need of salvation.
In Psalms 126: 5-6 we read, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves (that is souls) with him."
Then in Acts 20:31 we read of the Apostle's Paul's ministry, "Therefore, watch, and remember, that for the space of three years (that was in the city of Ephesus) I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears."
Think about what your answer would be. How many here have wept over a lost soul while
Weeping before God to save them or.
Weeping before them while presenting the gospel unto them?
The psalmist said, "they that sow in tears shall reap in joy." Is it perhaps, we don't see people saved, because we don't have the heart for souls? Our souls are not broken over their lost-ness. The ministry of tears is to cause us to weep for the souls of men and women boys and girls in there need of salvation.
FOURTH: The ministry of tears is to make us homesick for heaven. The ministry of tears is to keep this world from becoming too attractive to us. We are citizens of Heaven. We are headed toward heaven's bliss. In Philippians 3:20-21 we read,
"For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven, from which also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like his glorious body…”
On our journey toward Heaven we are hindered by the pull of this world. It is very easy to become satisfied in this life.
Have you ever thought that, if this life offered no hardness, no suffering, no tears, no bitterness, no disappointments, most of us would be content to remain here? Someone said,
It is the nights of this earth that make Heaven to be desired–where there is no night.
It is the tears of this life that make Heaven a delight–where God shall wipe away all tears.
It is the sufferings of this life which makes us long for Heaven where there shall be no more pain, nor sickness.
It is the poverty of this life that makes the riches of Heaven more desired than ever.
It is the disappointments of this life that makes us long for the bliss of Paradise.
It is the heaviness of this life that makes the rest of Heaven a holy anticipation.
It is the mourning of this journey that will make the hallelujahs of Heaven blessed.
It is the loneliness of this life that makes us long for the fellowship of Jesus in Heaven.
The longer we live and the more tears we shed, the more homesick we become for Heaven, Amen!
One by one our loved ones are crossing over, until soon we have more loved ones on the other shore than here. As this separating continues, all the more we desire to depart this life and enjoy reunion with loved ones who have outstripped us to Heaven's shore.
In closing please turn with me to Psalm 56 where we read,
“Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. (2) Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High. (3) What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. (4) In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. (5) Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil. (6) They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul. (7) Shall they escape by iniquity? in thine anger cast down the people, O God.(8) Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? (9) When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me. (10) In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. (11) In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. (12) Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee. (13) For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?”
Would you again notice the words from verse 8, "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?"
This prayer was pressed out of David's soul by innumerable calamities. Now that you have discovered that God has a tear bottle that catches our tears, do you ever wonder from whence he gathers those tears?
May I do some suggesting here?
God perpetually keeps the tears of repentance. God keeps in that bottle the wandering souls weeping over his evil ways. The tears of the prodigal start to fall to the ground, but they do not because an Angel catches them as the compassionate God opens up the tear bottle for more tears. God does not remember the sin, but he remembers the tears of repentance.
God keeps a tender remembrance of all your sicknesses. In your physical suffering there have been times when you sit alone in your room feeling an indescribable loneness. But God knows; God feels; God is compassionate.
He knows of those sleepless nights,
He regards the acuteness of the pain,
He estimates the hardness of the breathing,
And while you pour out the medicine from the bottle and count the drops God counts all your falling tears. As you look at all those pills in that medicine bottle, it is God's bottle in which He hath gathered all your tears. God's angels of mercy are on the watch catching those griefs and placing those tears in God bottle.
God preserves the remembrance of all paternal anxieties. I know with many of us this is perhaps our primary anxiety, our children, and our families. Many a parent in the midnight hour has had their pillow wet with weeping.
You have wrestled with God in agony for the salvation of your children,
You have wept with agony in your soul over perhaps a wayward child.
You have spent anxious hours over some problem with them in their lives.
God understands your heart and remembers your prayers; He keeps eternal records of your anxieties; and He holds all those exhausting tears.
God keeps a perpetual remembrance of all bereavements. In the midst of your bereavement, your weeping is heard in Heaven. Your tears are gathered, remembered and placed in God's bottle of tears.
I have said at funerals to go ahead and weep. Do not hesitate to weep. You cannot drown your sorrow by trying to hide it. God has intended that we weep, even as our Lord mingled His tears with the tears of Mary and Martha at the grave of Lazarus. Truly, one of the most meaningful verses in the Bible is, “Jesus wept.”
Weeping is a divinely build-in system for the bathing of our emotions. Our every tear reminds us that we need God’s help, and every tear is a fresh signal that we must unburden our hearts to Him as we remember from Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble.”
Now passing down the corridor of time during which our tears are shed, we eventually move into eternity where the redeemed of all earth will forever know that "God hath wiped away all tears from all faces." AMEN! and AMEN!
I have said this on a number of occasions: week after week and Sunday after Sunday people come here to the House of God and on the surface they appear to be one way, but down deep on the inside they are something else. On the outside it appears there is PEACE and JOY as if everything is OK.
You may ask them, “How are you? And they answer, “I am fine, how are you?” Unfortunately, they are lying, because on the inside there is much PAIN and STRUGGLE.
Some are in agony of the soul,
Some are in physical agony,
Some are in financial troubles,
Some are in desperate family struggles with mates or children, and
Some are in deep emotional agony.
All around us, even within this church, there are folks who are facing PROBLEMS OF EXTREME MAGNITUDE. YOU ARE IN PAIN! Something has shattered your life. And more than anything, you need to be comforted.
Our trials, however slight or severe, have His attention. David expressed it in Psalm 103:13-14, "'As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust."
Thank God His comfort is unique. It is infinite, inexhaustible, immutable, and indestructible.
Our afflictions are temporary; God's comfort is "everlasting," and available at all times.
Our Heavenly Father sees our tears. He catches those tears and in time provides for the uplift of our souls, and the answer to our prayers. Let me close with II Corinthians 4:16-18. Please listen to them again:
"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon "Why God allows His people to WEEP” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
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