But while he was still a long way off his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20
I know the text doesn’t say it but I can only imagine the tears flowing from the father and mother in the story of the prodigal son. In fact, the King James version says “he fell on his son’s neck” in a dramatic display of joy and love. Awhile ago, my family brought me to tears of joy with a surprise visit from my daughter, whom I hadn’t seen in months. I heard the front door open and thinking it was my older daughter I made my way toward the front of the house to tell her hello. When I realized it was my younger daughter I was overcome with tears and unable to speak. I stood there sobbing in her arms.
It may seem strange to be thankful to God for tears but without them our world would be so vanilla. I’ve laughed until I have cried with friends and family. I’ve cried out to God, thankful for His grace and salvation. I’ve wept at the birth of my daughters. And yes, I’ve cried those tears of sorrow, of loss, of anger, of desperation.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Psalm 126:5
So often we must weep, live in hard times before we can experience the full glory and blessing of God. It’s why James tells us we should consider it joy to experience trials. Because those trials produce good fruit in us. And that fruit becomes something for us to share.
I have a friend whose 90 year old mother confesses to not remembering the last time, if ever, that she has cried. What that means is she hasn’t participated fully in the gifts of life. With each winter season in our lives we are so often rewarded with the spring, a time to bring us great joys. I want to go from this life knowing I have cried many tears from laughter, thankfulness, joyous surprise, beautiful surroundings and more. I heard a Christian teacher say, “If you want the joy of Sunday’s resurrection you must first have the tears of Friday’s crucifixion.”
I’m so very grateful to God for giving us the outward ability to show our emotions. To show those we love how much we love them, even after they are gone. I’m looking forward to the day I can cry tears of joy when I see Jesus’ face watching for me from a long way off. I know that when I get close enough, I will fall into His arms weeping, filled with joy.