The other night I dreamed that one of our children had been killed. Even in my sleep I had been crying and I cried still after I awoke just from the sadness the thought caused.
Tears are often considered a bad thing. In fact, the other day I saw a young, obviously pregnant woman, crying as she was leaving her house and heading toward her car. The sight saddened me that she should have encountered something -- bad news perhaps -- that brought these tears to her face.
Tears are useful though.
They lubricate the eye and keep it free of dust. Some of the substances in tears fight against bacterial infection. Tears flow across the eye and into the nasal cavity and help clear this passageway as well.
But not all tears are the same.
The chemical makeup of tears is different depending upon what caused it. There are the normal tears which keep our eyes lubricated. Then there are tears caused by exposure to chemicals or substances in the eye. These tears help to wash out and clean the eye of the offending agent.
Then there are tears caused by strong emotion. These tears contain more of the protein-based hormones such as prolactin (best known for its role in enabling breastfeeding and also known for it's relaxing effect on the breatsfeeding mother.) Emotional tears also contain leucine enkephalin, a natural painkiller. Is there any wonder we feel better after "a good cry?"
When we experience sadness which brings us to tears, the Lord has already provided --in our own tears-- substances which can help us feel better. God made those tears which fall from our eyes, and He knows pain, too. The Lord Jesus is referred to as the "Man of Sorrows" in the Scriptures. So the One who is the most "aquainted with grief" is also the One who put natural painkillers and relaxing agents in our tears.
Our tears are so precious to the Lord, the psalmist said, "Thou tellest my wanderings: put Thou my tears into thy bottle: not in Thy book?" (Psalm 56:8.)
The next time we are lead to tears, let us remember the One who suffered much for our salvation, the One who created tears, the One who from the foundations of the earth made provision for us in our tears.