| Click Now to Order
A Time to Weep
Rev. 5:4-5 NLT
"Then I wept because no one could be
found who was worthy to open the scroll and read it.  But one of the
twenty-four elders said to me, "Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe
of Judah, the heir to David's throne, has conquered. He is worthy to open
the scroll and break its seven seals."
In our text, John discovered
that it is not always appropriate to weep, but King Solomon wrote in Eccles.
3:4 KJV [There is] "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn,
and a time to dance;"
I love to laugh and wish
I knew how to dance-I don't, but I think I'm like most people in that I
don't hunger for more opportunities to weep. Yet they come, and when they
do, they are often a blessing.
The Scripture speaks of a blessed weeping.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Blessed are they that mourn: for
they shall be comforted." (Matthew 5:4 KJV)
Remember the tears of reconciliation
Joseph shed when he embraced Benjamin and later his father. "Weeping with
joy, he embraced Benjamin, and Benjamin also began to weep.  Then Joseph
kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and then they began talking
freely with him." (Genesis 45:14-15 NLT)
And then in Genesis 46:29 NLT the scripture
says, "Joseph prepared his chariot and traveled to Goshen to meet his father.
As soon as Joseph arrived, he embraced his father and wept on his shoulder
for a long time." These were times of blessed weeping.
Unfortunately, there are also somber
times that we weep.
A recent news story described
an occasion when many innocent people wept. Let me read a portion of it
to you. "NORFOLK, Va. -- On a dreary gray day that matched the mood, thousands
gathered at the USS Cole's home port Wednesday to pray for, cry and remember
the 17 sailors killed in a terrorist bombing half a world away.
At the front of a crowd dotted
with thousands of white-uniformed sailors, seven men who were wounded in
last week's attack watched from wheelchairs and stretchers. With casts
on their legs and IVs connected for pain medication, they sat stiffly,
as if at attention, in their dress whites.
A lone bugler played taps,
and the base's Sea Chanters sang the Navy Hymn to end the ceremony, but
most people didn't leave. One woman threw 17 red carnations in the water.
Others milled about on the giant dock, some weeping, some clinging to others
Shortly after the attack,
Lt. Jamie Buchanan emailed me and shared with me how the tragedy affected
him. With his permission, I want to share a portion of his note with you:
"Here in Norfolk, it was
certainly a hollow feeling that we experienced when the Cole was attacked.
Just two months prior to the attack, the Cole was at the next pier over
from us here at the Naval Station. Given that our ship is moored next to
the destroyers (and hence, we tower over them), our Captain has made it
a policy to open our flight deck to the families of sailors leaving on
deployment with other ships.
On a morning back in August,
family members of the Cole said goodbye from our flight deck. I've seen
this played out with other families and ships as well in my five short
months aboard the Nassau. I can never get accustomed to seeing a spouse
crying or a child screaming because Mommy or Daddy is slowly leaving for
the next 6 months.
The loss of shipmates on
the Cole has certainly left a very deep impression upon me. When I saw
the list of names and ages of those killed, I couldn't help but think of
the guys in my division, many of whom are 19 or 20 years old. I don't know
how most are, but I think that our country has become somewhat complacent
because we're told we live in such a "safe" world. Perhaps this was our
wake-up call......for I certainly don't bother to think that leaving port
in Norfolk will be my last time to see these great United States. I'm sure
that those killed on the Cole didn't think so either."
Some of the children who
screamed and the wives that wept aboard the Nassau
in August, experienced the ultimate pain as the bugler played taps a few
months later. Certainly, tragic death is a time to weep.
David wept when Absalom died, "The
king was overcome with emotion. He went up to his room over the gateway
and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, "O my son Absalom! My son,
my son Absalom! If only I could have died instead of you! O Absalom, my
son, my son." (2 Samuel 18:33 NLT)
Weeping isn't just appropriate when
people die. Manly Esau wept when he lost his blessing. "Esau pleaded,
'Not one blessing left for me? O my father, bless me, too!' Then Esau broke
down and wept." (Genesis 27:38 NLT) Yes, real men do cry.
Peter wept when he came face to face
with his own sinfulness. "Suddenly, Jesus' words flashed through
Peter's mind: 'Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.'
And he went away, crying bitterly." (Matthew 26:75 NLT)
Then there are the sweet tears of repentance.
"'Yet even now,' declares the Lord, 'Return to Me with all your heart,
And with fasting, weeping, and mourning;'" (Joel 2:12)
When is the last time your sinfulness
broke your heart?
Some might weep when they get caught
or when they get convicted, but that's not what I'm asking here. When is
the last time your sinfulness broke your heart?
As appropriate as all these types of
weeping are, this morning, I want to draw your attention to another type
of weeping, one that results in longing tears. 1 Samuel 1:7 KJV describes
the tears Hannah shed because she longed for God to bless her with a son.
It says: "And it happened year after year, as often as she went up to the
house of the Lord, she would provoke her, so she wept and would not eat."
Hannah went to the house of the Lord
every year to plead with God to give her a son. She longed for a son, so
she prayed, fasted and wept.
When is the last time you longed for
something so bad, that you wept?
Do you long for the Lord that much?
The psalmist wrote, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul
pants for Thee, O God." Psalm 42:1
A couple of years ago, I got an email
from an official at the International Mission Board who was assisting me
in an article I was writing. Listen closely to what he wrote about members
of the "Wa People" in Burma: "Believers are living out a modern day Paul
and Silas story as they sit chained to walls in their own filth knowing
that imprisonment leads to infection and death often within a few months.
Yet, they continue to praise God that they can suffer for the Kingdom's
sake. Many in prison have come to faith in Christ because of the gritty
faith that continues to awe me. In Somalia out of eight converts, five
were killed within days after their baptism by their own family members."
Do you long to live for Christ as these
Do you long to see souls saved?
When is the last time you wept over
It is as appropriate to weep over a
soul going to hell as it is to weep at the loss of a loved one like David
did, or when losing
a blessing like Esau did, or when failing Christ like Peter did. We weep
whenever we suffer a personal loss. Is it personal to you? Is it personal
that without Christ, your friends and neighbors will miss heaven?
One day, Jesus will speak
to those who lived life without Him and will say to them: "And then I will
declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'
And when they begin an eternity
in hell, they will weep. Matthew 8:12 says, "but the sons of the kingdom
shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be
weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Perhaps if we spend some
time weeping over souls today, they won't have to weep and gnash their
teeth throughout eternity.
Going, Weeping, Sowing, Reaping
. . . Will you make it personal. Will you care enough for souls that your
prayers will turn into tears for their salvation?