It seems like such a simple question doesn’t it? “Does God Cry?” I had lunch with an old coworker. She told me her five year old Grandson asked her this question. She didn’t share what the circumstances were that lead up to the question, but she knew I was writing and thought it was an idea that I could explore.
I know when I read the story about a young child being kidnapped and when found later, learned that the child was brutally murdered; it made me cry. I am certain that it made God cry. When I read the story about a young girl being murdered on a campus in Connecticut by a lab worker and later her body was found hanging upside down; here was another occasion where I know I wanted to cry. We will never forget hearing about the men who made two homemade bombs and sent them ripping through the crowd of fans and runners at the Boston Marathon killing three people and wounding 300 others. This was such a sad day. Story after story that resulted from this one incident made me cry. When it was announced that three young girls, Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina De Jesus were released from being held captive after being kidnapped for ten years by Ariel Castro, we all cried from joy and sadness. These are just a few stories. The actual number in front of God is phenomenal. I think He must be deeply hurt by each one and brought to tears.
Expressing sadness was certainly true of Jesus at times. There are many things that made Jesus sad. Some of it had to do with what people did, but sometimes it was things done not out of human control. In either case, we learned about the heart of Jesus and therefore, about the heart of God in these instances. We expect the world and the people in it to be fair and good, and when injustice occurs we are sad. This again is not unlike God. He would be sad when reality fails to live up to His expectation. Remember, God allows and knows all, but everything is in God’s perfect will. God allows things to happen even when He would rather they didn’t happen. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.
Jesus definitely had moments where he would cry. The shortest verse in the Bible references one of these moments. John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” Why would Jesus cry at all when He knew in this instance that he would raise Lazarus from the dead? He saw Mary and Martha grieving and he was saddened because they were saddened. There is a human side to Jesus and even though he knew he would change the situation, he also knew that death causes pain to others.
I think we make God cry when we refuse to go to Him or trust Him. We reject seeking Him for guidance, or ask for forgiveness of our sins; we refuse the healing he offers when we deny faith because ultimately we are refusing His most precious gift.
I have always been told I am very straightforward and honest. This can be a double edge sword. I feel strongly about my opinions but when I voice them on occasion I’ve been told I can be hurtful. I don’t necessarily mean to do this but being honest with myself, I know I’ve done it. My mother use to tell me it was because I was the “runt of her litter” and always felt like I had to be the loudest voice heard. Being the shortest in her family of nine children made me a little outspoken at times. In any case, as a person of faith, I try and offer it up to God. When I pray about this, and I do, I try to correct my mistakes. I know now that at the end of the day, it’s up to me to try and do better with being more considerate of other people’s feelings and show respect as God would do.
I think when we pray to God and seek forgiveness and we ask for His direction and His support for everything that happens at the start of every day we are more accepting of His will.
Crying is not only an expression of sadness. We are also brought to tears when we feel joyous about something. So it is likely God expresses tears of joy as well. We can pray that this happens more frequently than crying out of sadness. I suspect they are even though. I know when a child is born, or a wedding of two people that are happy and will be together for life, or at a graduation, or when a child says to his parents “I love you” for the first time or when God hears the prayers of a child; I am thinking this list, the ‘tears of joy’ list that is, is endless as well.
If it were me answering the question for a five year old, I suppose I would tell him that God does cry because we are all made in His image and just like us, He will cry especially when something makes Him sad or when something makes Him joyous. Usually it’s the simplest answer that makes for a better understanding especially for a five year old. I like to think it is that simple though, and it’s been a long while since I was five.
Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh(Cathy) completed her education at the University of Nebraska majoring in Special Education and minoring in English and now works as an Agent in the Insurance Industry. A mother and Grandmother, Cathy grew up in a large Catholic family and has spent the last 30 years as a caregiver for her husband Jack. She is a cancer surviver which inspired her to begin writing six years ago. She is a writer for the Catholic Imagination Column for Tuscany Press, and is currently working on several other writing projects.
Copyright 2015 Cathy Baugh
Image credit: Ary Scheffer [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons