A Good Cry

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Driving in the rain calls for concentration, especially when your eyes are filled with tears. That was me yesterday morning as I drove to the church office, listening to a playlist called “Memories,” a gift from a daughter. Each song is meaningful to me in some way, but some are especially so, such as Butterfly Kissesby Bob Carlisle and Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman.

These songs highlight the love between a father and his daughter. They are the kind of songs that, when your daughter is young, you weep, thinking about them growing older and no longer needing you in the same way they used to. I remember listening to such a song when our eldest daughter was only a few months old. I blubbered then and I blubbered yesterday. But for a different reason. Though I no longer have any little girls in my home, and therefore no more “butterfly kisses at night,” I do have five adult daughters, and a growing family, who are a huge and blessed part of my life.

When I pulled into the church office, I sat in my car, finished listening to the song, and sobbed. Some say that real men aren’t supposed to cry. But to paraphrase another song, “It’s my prerogative and I’ll cry if I want to.” I wanted to, and it felt really good to shed tears of gratitude to God, to have tears of joy. More tears were to come.

I entered my office and unwrapped a gift on my desk. Another daughter arranged a jar filled with little notes from kind-hearted people. The notes were simple expressions of love and appreciation. Some no doubt were exaggerations, but, hey, I’m not complaining! As I sat and read them, the tears restarted as I reflected again on God’s undeserved goodness to me. To be loved is one of the greatest gifts one can receive. Especially when it seems that the rain keeps falling.

A couple of hours later, I enjoyed a visit with dear friends, missionaries, whom I have known for about thirty years. After they left, I thanked God for enriching my life with their friendship and fellowship in the gospel. I was gratified to know that they and their family are faithfully serving the Lord. A good reason to cry.

Later, I met a friend and colleague for lunch. He has cancer: an inoperable tumour sitting like a time-bomb in his chest. This brother, ten years my junior, has faithfully persevered as a husband, father, and pastor, amid treatments and medical uncertainties. He is full of the joy of the Lord, excited about preaching this Sunday, and grateful for God’s kindness to his family. He knows, far better than I yet understand, that life is brief and uncertain. He is making the most of it. That’s enough to make a grown man cry.

Brothers and sisters, I was reminded yesterday that it’s sometimes good to have a good cry: a cry arising from contemplation of God’s goodness. And, since God is always good, we can find plenty of reasons to give thanks to him (Psalm 16:34), and maybe even have a good cry.

You might be more phlegmatic and less prone to tears. That’s okay, for “tears maketh not the man”—nor the woman. But in these challenging days, we should all reflect on God’s goodness to us. You might see it in the family in which God placed you or in friends he’s given. You can see it in health, or in spiritual growth, or in answers to prayer, or in material provision, etc. In a myriad of ways, God supplies us with tons of reasons for a “good cry.”

Yet God’s ultimate goodness is his saving grace to us in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. By his life, by his death, and by his resurrection, the believer has assurance of forgiveness, the removal of guilt, and the promise of the everlasting love of the triune God, “Thanks be unto God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15). Therefore, think, thank, and then, perhaps have a good cry.

Appreciating the goodness of God with you,

Doug