“Listen to my tears” (Psalm 28:2)
August 17, 2021
Temptations, hardships, pain, diseases and disasters sometimes bring about tears. Especially if the person feels abandoned, or that it is a punishment as a result of his sins. Here, a spiritual factor enters into weeping, its reason being that the person feels that grace has departed from him, or that God has begun to deliver him to the hands of his enemies. He is then grieved and weeps.
Sometimes he weeps, repenting and regretting, and sometimes he weeps whilst reproaching God.
Perhaps this is what David did in his temptations and hardships when he said in the Psalm, “Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1)
The Lord sometimes allows temptations, not in abandonment, but for its spiritual benefits.
For, a person at the time of humbleness finds this humbleness bringing him to the contrition of heart, meekness of spirit, an excess of tears that makes him feel his weakness, and removes from him all the reasons and manifestations of pride.
God might see that the tears of one of His sons has dried up in the pleasures of the world, and so He allows temptations and hardships to come to him, in order to squeeze his eyes, after it squeezes his heart.
God does not even prohibit these temptations from His saints. The Psalm says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). He allows these afflictions to afflict His saints. If it arrives at spiritual results, He rescues them from these afflictions.
Here, I would like to differentiate between two types of temptation and two types of tears.
One type is worldly and the other is spiritual.
There are materialistic or worldly temptations that afflict a person through his wealth or fame or his position and so he weeps being grieved over the pleasures of the things he lost in this world. Perhaps in his weeping he grumbles and becomes discontent even towards God Himself! As if God was the reason for his affliction.
The tears of such a person is a sin.
We will not speak about this type. His tears indicate his love of the world and of the feelings therein, which will pass away and its lust with it. (1 John 2:16, 17)
The person who renounces worldly pleasures is not affected by these matters, but says, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).
Another person for example, the more temptations press him, he feels the trifleness of the world and desires a better world, this is a spiritual person.
If he weeps, in fear of grace abandoning him, or that he has grieved the Lord, and so He left him to the troubles of the world.
This person’s weeping is spiritual and mingled with repentance and humbleness of heart, and also mingled with confession. He says in his heart: “What has happened to me is far less than what I deserve as a result of my sins. It is good for me to fulfill the affliction on earth just like poor Lazarus” (Luke 16:25).
He might say with the Psalmist, “It is good for me that I
have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.” (Psalm 119:71)
Such tears bring comfort to the heart, because God accepts them as a smell of joy in front of Him and also accepts their spiritual motivations.
The temptations might be from devilish warfares. The person weeps sensing his weakness and asking for assistance from the Lord.
The person’s feeling that he is weaker than fighting this spiritual power brings him tears, fearing that he might fall. The thoughts of the enemy might have defiled the man of God and so he weeps, being cautious over the purity of his heart, thoughts and feelings and he struggles asking for God’s grace to be with him.
On this spiritual war, Saint Paul the apostle sent a message rebuking the Hebrews and saying:“You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin” (Heberew 12:4).
Tears is an element of struggle to bloodshed. Prophet David speaks to God saying: “Listen to my tears” (Psalm 28:2) and Saint John said, do not abandon me “because without You I can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Source: “Tears in Spiritual Life” By H.H. Pope Shenouda III.