1. A source of joy
It might sound unlikely. Certainly, it is paradoxical. But, tears lead to joy. The Psalmist understood this: “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” (Psalms 126:5 NIV11) Some years ago the church I loved was virtually destroyed by a combination of our own sin, and the disciplining hand of God. I was not the only one who cried at the state of the church. And I was not the only one who despaired for a positive future.
However, I took some time to go away, climb a Welsh mountain, and open my heart to God. I confessed my sins. I confessed our sins. I admitted my fears about the future. My heart broke and I wept. After some time, I felt a deep sense of assurance. I realised that my heart was in sync with the heart of God. I knew for a certainty that he felt as I did. And, joy of joys, it dawned on me that he had not given up on me or the church. Therefore, there was hope. This hope burst upon me with deep joy.
I went up the mountain heavy laden. I came down the mountain with a light heart.
2. A source of inner growth
- Ask: Request that God help you to have a soft heart. Trust what David knew, that God will not despise, “a broken and contrite heart.” (Psalms 51:17 NIV11)
- Confess: Open up to God about the sin of which you are clear. As C.S. Lewis said, ‘The true Christian’s nostril is to be continually attentive to the inner cesspool.’
- Receive: Trust that God, “will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NIV11) Do not give in to the Devil’s lie that you are unworthy. Of course you are unworthy! That’s why Jesus went to the cross. But now, because of his victory, and your adoption, you are made worthy.
- Obey: Where it is within your power, do right to the people you have wronged. Change your behaviour in areas where you have damaged your relationship with God.