It was some time after my husband Jack died. I sat in the therapist’s office, crying. Every Tuesday, after work. Talking while I cried. One afternoon I apologized for crying. “I think God is angry with me for crying,” I sniffled to Susan.
“No, Cynthia,” she told me. “It isn’t God who is angry at you for crying. Who is it?” I stopped crying. (I learned that you can’t think and cry at the same time. You also can’t sleep if you are crying, but that is another story.) I tried to think who was angry at tears. I thought some more. “My father?” I asked. Susan nodded. She had heard enough of my life by then to know that my father disapproved of girls who cried, tattled or lied.
That should have been the end of it, but it wasn’t. A few weeks later, on a weekend, stewing in the now-empty house three miles outside of our small town, I began to cry again, and to feel guilty again. But this time I remembered the story of Lazarus and how Jesus cried at the grief of the sisters who had thought Jesus would come quickly to heal their brother. I remembered that Jesus wept. Comfort swept over me and I ran to get my Bible and look up the story. There it was, John 11:35. “Jesus wept.” I gave the Lord a high five.
That verse is also famous for being the shortest verse in the Bible, but for those who are overwhelmed by grief, family, fatigue, work–overcome by anything–and who cry, maybe it will be their favorite verse, too. The next time the tears come, maybe it will be your favorite verse.