“Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy” (II Timothy 1:4).
Paul greatly loved young Timothy, his son in the faith, and that love was fully reciprocated. When Timothy learned of Paul’s latest sufferings and approaching execution, he unashamedly wept, and Paul was greatly moved by it.
Paul, himself, often had been moved to tears, especially because of his great fear that false teachers would come into the churches he had founded, subverting their faith and drawing them away from the true gospel of Christ. Thus, for three years with the Ephesians he had “ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Acts 20:31). To the Philippians, writing concerning those “who mind earthly things,” he said, “I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18,19). Another apostle who had shed tears was Peter. When the Lord looked at Peter after his threefold denial, “Peter went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62).
Even Christ, Himself, had wept on occasion. When He heard that Lazarus had died, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). He also shed tears over the blindness and coming judgment of His beloved Jerusalem: “When He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it” (Luke 19:41).
The shedding of tears is often a cleansing and restoring experience. It is good to weep when convicted of sin, as did Peter, or when grieving over the suffering of a loved one, as did Timothy, or the death of a loved one, as did Jesus. It is even more appropriate, though rare today, to be moved to tears over apostasy and apathy in the church, as did Paul, and over God’s necessary judgment on such rebellion, as did the Lord.
Tears are often wonderfully beneficial in this life. But there will come a glorious day when “God shall wipe away all tears” from our eyes (Revelation 21:4). HMM