Skip to main content

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cry.”

The sweet gal sitting across from me wiped the tear from her cheek, embarrassed, and a little surprised her tears made an appearance at all.

“I don’t want you to think I’m not trusting God,” she continued.

After decades of working with women, I’ve noticed that many of us have embraced a false narrative about sadness and grief: tears = lack of trust. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“You don’t need to apologize. Tears are God’s way of allowing us to get the hard stuff out,” I reminded her.

I could tell my words made her feel safe, seen, and completely normal.

Have you ever heard someone apologize for crying? Have you ever apologized for crying?

In all likelihood, you can say, “yes” to both.

Truthfully, I’m not a big crier (except for worship–worship often makes me cry!) but I do know that tears can be healing.

Most of us don’t like tears. Tears make us feel weak. Vulnerable. Exposed. Tears mean our deepest feelings bubble to the surface for other people to see–or for us to face.

Sometimes we don’t want others to see our deepest feelings because we don’t know how they’ll handle our feelings. Or us.

As a result, we tend to hide the tender stuff so we appear strong. We’d much rather plaster a smile on our faces, post a photo on Instagram, and present the illusion that we have it all together.

The issue I’m facing? No big deal.

The hurt I’ve experienced? I’ll get over it.

The disappointing news I received?  Better luck next time.

The hardship I’m enduring? Other people’s problems are worse.

And while there are moments when these responses help move us forward, sometimes they actually hold us back.

Stuffing keeps us stuck.

Which, perhaps, is one reason God designed our bodies to express our feelings with tears. (Or words, if that suits us better.)

Did you know tears are biblical? Jesus cried. You’re probably aware that the shortest verse in the Bible is, “Jesus wept.” I can’t prove it, but I wonder if it’s short by design—to somehow make us sit up and take notice that God incarnate let the hard stuff out. He cried.

Jesus isn’t the only one in the Bible who expressed emotions through tears. David, the giant slayer, cried, too.

This morning, I revisited David’s prayer recorded for us in Psalm 56 and was struck afresh by the intimate nature of David’s relationship with God. Repeatedly we’re told, “David cried out to God” when he encountered heartache. Here’s what David prayed in Psalm 56:

“Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll—are they not in your record?”

David never told God, “I didn’t mean to cry.” On the contrary, David asked God to remember his crying! Wow. Game-changing perspective on tears, right?

Some Bible versions say our tears are in God’s bottle. In the original Hebrew David asks God to “put my tears in your wineskin.” In other words, David wants God to take note and remember the tears he cried.

Whether our tears are recorded on a scroll, kept in a bottle, or held in a wineskin, the important things are these:

  1. Tears are not only normal; sometimes they are necessary.
  2. Tears are not a sign that we aren’t trusting God; Jesus’ tears and King David’s tears teach us this.
  3. We can cry in the presence of God with complete freedom and no shame. God never says, “Would you just get over it?”
  4. God keeps a record of the tears we shed.
  5. God stores our tears, but He also wipes our tears.

Revelation 21:4 tells us, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Tears are for now, not tomorrow.

But until we see Jesus face to face, and He will wipe all our tears, we can develop an intimacy with Jesus where feel safe, seen, loved, and known.

We can cry and more importantly, we can cry out to Him.

You are loved,


PS. One of the most heartbreaking parts of life is conflict with someone we love. If you’d like to know how to handle the hurt caused by conflict in a biblical way, grab a copy of my latest book, Healthy Conflict, Peaceful Life: a Biblical Guide to Communicating Thoughts, Feelings, and Opinions with Grace, Truth, and Zero Regret. It’s on sale for a limited time everywhere books are sold, but here’s the Amazon Link: Healthy Conflict, Peaceful Life. You can get in on audible, too!

PSS. And don’t forget to tune into the “That’s Just What I Needed” podcast. You’ll find great episodes for every season of life!


More than a Bible teacher, Donna is a self-described Bible explainer. A colorful storyteller who combines Biblical truth with real-life anecdotes, her messages not only help listeners understand God’s Word, but most important, grasp how to live it out in real life.

One Comment