What do I do when language lacks the strength to express my praise and adoration? How could I possibly open my mouth and let words flow, knowing they will fall far short of my true feelings? Words do not hold the power to express the heart. For such a purpose, God has blessed us with tears.
Yesterday, I clutched the phone and wept joyfully as my mom told me that the adoption of my baby sister is almost secured. The most difficult element of the legal matters has been resolved quickly: parental rights have been terminated, which usually takes months and several delayed hearings. And and added blessing: rights were terminated on the condition that our family adopts her. She may be legally ours in as little as three months.
As Mom told me about the court hearing, tears stung my eyes and overflowed. I was surprised at myself as I struggled to speak through the lump in my throat and failed, too choked up to be coherent. I was amazed at the wonder of tears. I am not one who cries easily! Yet I realized as I cried that my heart was so full of praise it had no way to express itself but through tears.
I once heard the quote, “Tears are what happens when your heart overflows.” I think it was a child who said it. How true it is! Whether in pain, sorrow, or joy, the heart will overflow when it is full. And let me tell you, that overflow can make you very soggy! I poured out my heart in my journal after getting off the phone with Mom, but the true relief of the strain on my emotions was not the feeble scratching of pen on paper; it was the tears that came as fast as the words I wrote.
In the Bible, people often wept to release the overflow of their hearts. Many of these instances were grief or sorrow, such as David in Psalm 6, where he floods his bed with weeping and drenches his couch with tears because of his guilt before God. The most striking account of weeping in Scripture for me, however, is not a man weeping in sorrow, but rather, a man weeping with gladness and joy. Genesis 45 finds Joseph revealing himself to his brothers many years after they betrayed him into captivity. Verses 1-2 say, “Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, ‘Have everyone leave my presence!’ So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.” Later, in verses 14-15, he continued to weep: “Then he threw his arms around Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them…”
My 14-year-old brother would call this a “sob-fest”. I would call it beautiful. The joyful overflow of a heart is a lovely thing. At that moment, Joseph sureveyed all that God had done through his sufferings, he regained precious fellowship, and he restored harmony in a broken family. His heart was so full of awe, praise, and adoration at God’s marvelous plan that he could not control himself. His heart overflowed with weeping.
I feel like Joseph now. I look back on the last two years with my baby sister, Sara, and I can finally see what God has been doing. There has been suffering, but now I can see why. I am given the strong hope of a forever bond with Sara, which is more precious than I can say. Unity and peace is brought to a tumultuous but blessed young life. All these things build up within me until they overflow. I weep and I praise God. All I can say is, “Praise you, Father. Thank you, Father.” But God does not mind. He knows a language deeper than spoken word. He knows the language of my heart. And in my heart, I am writing novels full of praise, adoration, and glory.
I praise God with my weeping!