Tears Have a Purpose


I’ve been thinking a lot about tears lately—in part because Pastor Bryan pointed out to me how many hits my post titled God Keeps Your Tears in a Bottle has had, in part because I’ve cried more than a few tears this year, and in part because I’ve been listening to Johnny Cash’s Cry, Cry, Cry in my car all week—and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all here.

People cry for a lot of reasons.

Earlier this year my sister died of breast cancer at only 61 years old. I cried, a lot. It’s normal and even helpful to shed tears over the death of a loved one even if we know where they are going when they die, because it allows us to express the grief we feel over not having them in our lives any more here on earth.

I remember a time I had a previous boss say some very cruel things to me in front of other people. She accused me of having done things I had not based on motives I did not have. I was very angry, hurt, and frustrated. And I cried, a lot. I didn’t cry in front of her, mind you, but afterwards I did. And it was good to express that anger to others.

Just yesterday I experienced unexpected tears.

I was reciting the prayers of the people in church, which I’ve done many times. Our church has many prayer concerns for members, family, and friends with health concerns and more. Towards the end of the prayer I began to lift up prayers for a church member’s brother-in-law who is a pastor back in New York because he is faced with conducting the funerals of two teens who had been killed in an accident last week, and with comforting the families of three other teens who are in critical condition.

I unexpectedly had tears in my eyes and my voice cracked praying for these teens and families that I don’t even know. But they were good tears because they touched those who heard my prayer and I know they touched our Lord, too.

I have cried tears of loss, anger, indignation over an injustice, frustration, compassion, and even of joy. I sometimes cry tears of regret when I hear a beautiful song about the sacrifice of Jesus, knowing it is my sin that required him to suffer.

Tears often serve a purpose, as expressed in this poem that I wrote recently:


Tears of sorrow, anger
drench my soul
course without end
eroding pain, anguish

Where once only aching
occupied my heart
now is a deep empty ravine
carved by a river of tears

Tears of forgiveness
water my soul’s riverbed
allowing flowers of love
to flourish and grow

Peace arises in my heart
held aloft by God’s promises
the fragrance of sweet alyssum
blossoms of my soul

I think the saddest tears of all, though, are the tears of major clinical depression. These tears are so sad because the one who cries them doesn’t know what purpose they serve.

I remember when I was suffering from depression sitting in a chair and just crying. When someone asked me why I was crying all I could say was, “I don’t know.” And I truly didn’t. The tears didn’t wash away pain; they only seemed to make it all the worse.

In the midst of such tears, there is One who knows their purpose.

Romans 8:26 says: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Through prayer God can sometimes lead us to an understanding of the purpose of the tears of depression, and ultimately to healing. Often the wounds are so deep it takes years and a great many groaning prayers to heal. But we must accept our weakness and our need for God’s Holy Spirit to intercede for us.

For me, after much prayer of my own, the blessed prayers of others, and the intercession of the Holy Spirit, God led me to an understanding of the purpose of my tears. They were tears of anger and unforgiveness; they were tears of lament that I had allowed myself to remain in bondage to the sins of another for so long.

With God’s help, the tears did lead to healing once I truly understood why I was crying.

May You Know His Peace,

Linda K

Linda has a good blog that touches hearts worldwide. 




Author: Linda L. Kruschke

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I write candid memoir and fearless poetry, and delve into hard issues others tend to avoid. I want others to know God’s redemption and healing are just a story away.

8 thoughts on “Tears Have a Purpose”

  1. I have been crying for days. In the midst of a major bipolar depression. I have cut myself off from everyone, including God. Took everything I had to reach out this morning but I did to the pastor of a church I just started attending a few months back. I don’t know how to reach out to God right now. The further I pull from him the worse I feel but there is a huge wall I am hitting anytime I attempt to pray or pick up my bible.I am glad I came across your site, it is very helpful, encouraging, gives me hopes and lets me know that I am not alone in my struggles.


    1. Dianna, I am so glad you found some hope here. You are definitely not alone. This is a time to remember what you know – that Jesus is always with you even when it doesn’t seem like He is – and cling to that when it feels like He is far away. As I’m sure you are aware, feelings can be fickle and often changing, but the truth that God loves you never, ever changes. Continue to reach out to your pastor and be sure to contact your doctor as well (I pray you have a good, Godly doctor to turn to). I will keep you in my prayers. Peace, Linda


    2. Dianna

      I just came across your post (2-1/2 years after the fact), and it touched my heart. I have been where you are on many days when it is hard to reach out, but I know that it is satan who tries to hold me back. Though at times you feel like you keep swimming against the current, try to remember that it is not His will that you are depressed and feeling weak in your admiration and thankfulness for and to Him. It is the darkness trying to pull you down, be stronger than satan and push your way back to the surface. He is waiting for you to push back from the evil that deceives you, but know that He is with you in your times of trouble. Breathe ♥

      I hope and pray that you have gotten through depression’s hold on you, and that it has not had a chance to return, but if it should…don’t let it pull you back down. God gives us the ability to break the surface and fight the riptides that we inevitably come against.


  2. Thank you for sharing this with us. I wish I could release tears. I have cried many dry tears in my life, especially within the last year as my marriage of 20 years and my family have fallen apart. I pray for the gift of tears. I also pray for the heart and ability to truly forgive so I can be set free of anger, bitterness, and hurt. In Him, Mark


    1. Mark, I am glad this post was a blessing to you. I pray that God will help you forgive the hurt you have endured so that you can heal and move on. Forgiving those whom we have loved can be the hardest thing of all. I understand your struggle, having this past year experienced a family member who has walked away from our relationship and said some very hurtful things. It has been difficult to let go of the bitterness, but with God’s help I am getting there. God understands your struggle, too, because on the cross He had to forgive those He loved dearly. May God’s grace be sufficient to see you through. Peace, Linda


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