by Dr. Lee Roberson
“God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”—Rev. 21:4.
The Word of God tells us of the day when tears shall be gone forever. Until we come to that day, we move through this world in the midst of tears.
Let us not scoff at the man who cries. Some of the world’s greatest people have shed tears. Such a one was Gladstone of England. He was a man of great mental power, of strong physique and of great religious experience. But we are told that one of the most marked things about Mr. Gladstone was his crying. It was said by those who were associated with him in the cabinet, that often as they sat together around the table and meditated on England’s national problems, he would drop his head, take his handkerchief and wipe tears from his eyes.
On one occasion, when he was prime minister, as Mr. Gladstone approached the House of Parliament, he stopped at the front door and talked with an old street sweeper who had been engaged in that business at the same place for a number of years.
As Gladstone stood there talking, he learned of the death of this man’s wife. As the street sweeper told him of her splendid and beautiful career and how she had helped him in his hard struggle, the great statesman took his handkerchief out and wept like a child.
This was not a sign of weakness. This was a sign of strength.
Henry Ward Beecher said, “I knew but two men who boasted that so far as they knew, they had never shed a tear. I watched the careers of those two men. One died in a lunatic asylum, and the other spent his life in the penitentiary.”
Don’t boast about your hardheartedness or refusal to shed tears. Instead, pray that God will give you a tender heart which will sympathize with others.
There are three things regarding tears that I want you to notice.
I. The Tears of Jesus
Jesus was a Man of tears. Isaiah tells us Christ was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”
On three occasions Christ is pictured as weeping: at the grave of Lazarus, over the city of Jerusalem and in the Garden of Gethsemane. Think of our great Saviour weeping over a city. His heart was torn, and His tears represented His attitude toward a lost world.
Who was this One who was crying? The Author of our Bible, the Refuge of our souls, the Hope of our resurrection, the Builder of our Heaven, the Source and Provider of all our spiritual blessings.
The Word of God has over 250 names for our Christ, including the Fountain from which we drink and quench our thirst, the Hiding Place for our troubled souls, our Intercessor at God’s right hand, our coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
He is the Christ who hung the stars in place and stood with God in the creation of all things.
When Christ wept over the city of Jerusalem, why did He weep?
First, He wept over Jerusalem because He saw their blind eyes. Christ could see men in their true spiritual condition. He saw them dead in trespasses and sins. He saw them under the wrath of God. He saw them without God and without hope.
Oh, that we might have the eyes of Jesus to see the condition of men without Christ! We need to see people as dead in trespasses and sins, sinking into the pit of Hell without our loving Saviour.
It is not right that we should consider this so lightly. It is an evil tendency of our day that Christians care so little about the spiritual condition of others. May the Spirit of God cut His way into callused hearts and bring about a compassion for souls which we have not had before. Let us begin to look upon men and women as lost or saved, and when we think of men lost, let us think of all that it means.
Second, He wept over Jerusalem because He saw their rejection of Him. The greatest sin is the sin of rejection. This sin will send men into an everlasting Hell.
Christ came “to seek and to save that which was lost”; but when He looked upon Jerusalem, He saw a city which had rejected Him. “He came unto his own, and his own received Him not.” Yes, there were some who did receive Him, but most refused Him, and “Jesus wept.”
Third, He wept over Jerusalem because He saw their destiny. We may gloss over the awfulness of Hell, but our Christ could not do so. At any moment the Saviour could look into the pit of Hell and see the awful punishment of sinners. At any moment He could look into the presence of God and see the blessedness of the saved. Therefore, He looked on Jerusalem and saw that many were going to Hell and were missing Heaven, and He wept.
Christ saw sinners dying without hope, going to an endless, eternal Hell. He was not troubled about their death but about their death without hope.
Man is an eternal soul. He is going to spend eternity either in Heaven or in Hell. Christ wept over a city when He saw the people in their downward course.
May we pray for Christlikeness as we view a lost world today. May the tears of compassion fill our eyes as they filled His. Think earnestly upon the tears of Jesus.
II. Today’s Tears
Tears and sorrows come because of a variety of reasons.
The failure of our friends—broken friendships will bring tears. I am frank to say that some of my greatest heartaches have come because of the failure of friends.
Since I have been in the ministry, I have helped a great number of preachers. I have recommended them to pulpits, and churches have called them. With the exception of only a very few, all these have turned against me—not only turned against me but also became my severest critics.
If God had not made me in a certain way, I would swear off ever helping another person. But something within my heart demands I lend a helping hand to any with whom I come in contact. My ability is limited, but to the end of my ability, I want to give help.
Many of you have had beautiful friendships which have blessed and encouraged your lives; then certain things happened which broke those friendships. Your tears and sorrows have increased as a result of the disappointments.
Again, tears come because of the failure of our plans. All of us begin life with high hopes. One by one our plans, yes, many of them selfish, are defeated; and we go forward through failures. We begin life with high hopes and great ambitions. The world has little regard for our plans, and we must drop them one by one.
Some of you have failed in your plan to have a Christian home. This failure is the heartache of your life. Instead of a home of beauty and harmony, you have a home which is broken and sin-wrecked.
Many of you have broken hearts because of the failure of your children. You gave them to God, and you desired that they should accomplish something. Perhaps you saw your failures and hoped they might go beyond all that you had ever done.
But instead of bringing joy to your heart, your children have brought sorrow. Instead of pride, you have had heartache because of their failures and sin. Tears fill your eyes as you think of their waywardness.
Again, tears come because of broken health. You want to press on and fight a good fight, but your health is broken. Perhaps you are not old, but your body is old and tired. You cannot do the work you set out to do.
Let us be sympathetic toward shut-ins and those afflicted. Christ had compassion upon such people. We should have compassion also.
Broken health brings tears, not only to the one who suffers, but to the ones around him.
In the hospital is a dear man who has been lying flat on his back for years. When I pray with him, tears come. I am sure his wife has tears also. Her heart is broken as she sees him lying helpless upon the bed, month after month, year after year.
And again, tears come because of death. There is no home without a hush. Death is no respecter of persons. It may be the going of a baby or of a mother, father or husband or wife. With death come tears.
Yes, we have tears. But thank God, we have a Saviour who cares. He gave us demonstrations of His love when He walked upon this earth. He showed His concern at the grave of Lazarus. He expressed His sympathy when He wept over Jerusalem. He showed His compassion. He healed the sick, raised the dead, straightened the limbs of the crippled and opened the eyes of the blind. He saw the tears of the sorrowing widow as she followed the casket holding the body of her boy. With compassion He looked upon the thief who died by His side and, because of his faith, gave him the assurance of Heaven.
Jesus cares! We sometimes sing:
He careth for you,
He careth for you,
In sunshine and shadow,
He careth for you.
Someone has asked, “Can we talk to the dead?” I do not believe we can, nor do I see any worth in it; but we can talk to our God. We can come to Him through Jesus Christ, and we can bring all of our cares and our burdens.
Spiritualism says that we can talk to the dead, but the Bible condemns this. Read Deuteronomy 18:9–14:
“When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
“There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
“Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
“For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
“Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.
“For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.”
Read also Leviticus 20:27:
“A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.”
Someone has said that spiritualism almost invariably works in dark rooms because it has three black eyes.
First, infidelity. It teaches that there are no evil spirits, no Devil and no Christ. Then it adds that Christ and the devils are alike.
Second, immorality. Listen to this: “It is the sublime mission of spiritism to deliver humanity from the thralldom of matrimony and to establish sexual emancipation.”
Third, insanity. Every madhouse in America has in it some adherents of spiritualism.
Remember, our departed loved ones are with God. “To be absent from the body [is] to be present with the Lord.” We cannot talk to the dead, nor is there any reason to do so nor any benefit that might come from it. But I repeat: we can talk to God and to our Saviour who cares for us.
Here is another question: Do our loved ones in Heaven know what we are doing upon earth?
It seems there are certain evidences that they might know what we do on earth; for example, there is the story of the Transfiguration, when Moses and Elijah came down and talked with Jesus upon the mount. Christ also said, “I say unto you, that…joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.”
The best answer I can give to this question is, our loved ones in Heaven are informed of that which would bring them joy, for Heaven is a place of joy.
But this we do know: God knows what we are doing. Let us be sure we are living in a way that will please Him. Remember, God knows about every tear which comes to our eyes. Christ cares and is concerned about us. Your heartaches are known to Him.
III. Tomorrow’s Tearless Time
“God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
We have tears here, but no tears after God wipes them all away in Heaven.
We are journeying toward Heaven, some faster than others it seems. For some it is near; for others it is still a distance away.
Christians are going to that place where disappointments will not come, plans will not fail, bodies will not decay, and death will not enter.
I want to get just as many people ready for Heaven as I can. Hell is a place where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth”; Heaven is a place of joy, happiness and no tears.
Being a soul winner is greater than being a preacher or a great doctor or a great dentist or a great businessman. Let’s get people ready for Heaven.
Dr. George W. Truett told the story of an incident that happened in his church in Dallas.
A devoted widow lived in a house with two rooms on a back street in the city. Her very wicked son spent most of his time in drunkenness and for years had broken his mother’s heart. For five years he had refused to go with her to church.
One evening he was in his room asleep. Mother walked softly in her stocking feet into his room and knelt at the bedside. She asked God to let her take the boy to church with her that night. Kneeling there, her tears, emotions and deeply stirred soul got the best of her and expressed themselves in sobs. This awakened the boy. He jumped up and said, “Mother, what is the matter?”
She said, “Oh, I beg your pardon. I did not mean to awaken you. I came in here to pray that God would let me take you with me to church to hear my pastor preach.”
He said, “Mother, if you will never ask me again, I will go tonight.”
“Son, I cannot promise that. I am going to follow you down to your grave.”
He finally consented to go. He waited until late on purpose, because he wanted the crowd to be there so he could sit at the back.
Finally they got there. There were just two seats left right at the door. The mother let him go in first, and she sat at the end. A great crowd was present. There was the boy on the back seat, with the mother between him and the door. The door led to the street, and the street led to the drinking house, and Hell was just beyond.
Dr. Truett preached and gave the invitation. He said, “Is there one here tonight who wants to be saved?” God’s power, in answer to that mother’s prayer, took hold of that boy. He started down the aisle, and before he reached the front, he had surrendered to Jesus Christ.
After the crowd was dismissed, the dear old mother got down on the floor in front of her boy and kissed his knees, his eyes and his hair. Then she took the preacher by the feet and hugged his feet, saying, “Pastor, it was through you tonight that my boy was saved!”
Truett said, “I would rather have that testimony than to wear the crown of England.”
What are you doing to get people ready for Heaven? Are you praying, witnessing, working?
Sinner friend, this is a world of tears, but there is a tearless tomorrow. It is a place called Heaven, and the way to reach Heaven is by the way of Jesus Christ. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
(From the book Death and After)