This world is sometimes called "the vale of tears." Jesus said, "In the

world ye shall have tribulation," but he also said, "In me ye shall have

peace." The way to heaven is through tribulations. Those whom John saw

standing before the throne and the Lamb arrayed in white robes and with

palms in their hands, were one day where we now are, and thank God, we,

coming up through great tribulation, shall some day be where they are.

While man in this world will meet with sorrow, he can by the grace of God

always rejoice. Alum thrown into muddy water will clarify it. The grace of

God thrown into a cup of sorrow will turn it to joy. Sorrows are needful.

It is only a barren waste where there is no rainfall.

We have sung, "No days are dark to me." This can indeed be true, but it is

not to be taken in the sense that there will be no clouds nor rainfall.

Show me a man who never has a cloud to float across his sky, and I will

show you a man who has not faith enough to see clearly in the sunlight. It

is those whose faith pierces through the cloud and keeps the smiling,

sunlit face of Christ in view that have the truest, sweetest joy. Their

rejoicing is in the Lord. By bravery and force of will some may shut

themselves against sorrow and soon become insensible to it. But the heart

that is steeled against sorrow is in all probability so calloused that it

can not experience joy. Those who know the deepest sorrow may ofttimes

know the fullest joy, and that in the midst of their sorrow. Do not harden

your heart against sorrow, but look to Jesus for that balm which heals,

that grace which sustains, that comfort which gladdens. Some have thought

that true joy consists in never having a sorrow; that those who have

sorrow have not found the way of peace. In this they err. Those who never

have a sorrow rejoice because they have no sorrows, but some who have

sorrow have learned to rejoice in the Lord. This is truest joy.

"Sorrowful," said one who was crucified with Christ, "yet always

rejoicing." He never once denied having sorrow; nay, he said, "I have

great heaviness, and continual sorrow in my heart." But he also said, "I

glory." It was the deep sorrow that made him most like Jesus. He had

feeling. "We sorrow," he said, "but not as those who have no hope." The

world knows a sorrow that the Christian does not know. Christians should

be careful lest in hardening themselves against feeling they do not render

themselves incapable of feeling compassion, sympathy, and pity.

Let the tears flow. If you keep them back, the fountain will dry up. May

the Lord pity those who have no tears! Jesus wept. The apostle Paul said,

"Out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many

tears." Oh, that unfeeling heart that can not suffer, that dry heart that

has no fountain of tears! It weeps not over the sorrows of others and

consequently can not rejoice when others are joyful. Only those who weep

can truly rejoice.

You rejoice because you and your family are in good health, because your

friends are smiling upon you, because circumstances surrounding you are

favorable, because you have an abundance of good things to eat and of

clothing to wear. But your rejoicing is only in earthly things. We are to

be grateful for these things, but they are only the sea-foam of joy; the

water lies beneath. True joy is to rejoice not only in the Lord but

with the Lord. Rejoice in those things in which Jesus and the

angels rejoice. When your goods are being wasted, you find your deepest

joy because God is being glorified.

If you can not weep with angels, you can not rejoice with them. See that

aged pilgrim: his has been a hard and stony way; loved ones have gone one

by one from his embrace; riches have taken wings and flown away; sorrows

are multiplied; trials are many; burdens are heavy; he is footsore, sad,

and weary. Angels are bending over him weeping. Can you weep with him and

them? They comfort him. The sadness of his heart begins to die away; hope

begins to dawn. The dawning of the hope causes the angels to rejoice. This

is truest joy. Rejoice when souls are saved; rejoice when hearts are

gladdened; rejoice when God is praised. This is the true source of purest

joy. But it is only those who are capable of suffering deeply with the

sufferings of others, that can truly rejoice when their sufferings are

turned away. The more we are like Jesus, the more we have of his Spirit,

the tenderer will be our hearts and the more deeply will our souls be

moved by the sufferings of others.

When some dear friend has proved untrue; when some loved one has gone

astray; when the death-angel has left a chair vacant at your hearth-stone

and deep sorrow lies upon your soul, then it is that you feel nearer to

Jesus. You feel ripe for heaven. The world has suddenly gone out, and you

have cast your eyes upward. Do not try to keep back the tears; let them

flow. They are pearls in angels' sight. It is the tears of the child that

touches the heart of the parent, and cites him to give comfort to the

little one. It is the tears of the Christian that touches the great loving

heart of God and moves him to give that solace which only Heaven gives.

David said in a time of deepest sorrow--his son was seeking his life--"It

may be the Lord will look on my tears [margin], and that the Lord will

requite me good." Hezekiah was doomed to die. The prophet told him to 'set

his house in order, for he should die, and not live.' The dying man turned

his face to the wall and prayed, "I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how

I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done

that which is good in thy sight"; and he "wept with a great weeping

[margin]." This touched the heart of God, and he said, "I have heard thy

prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee."

If the heart of God's saints were a deeper fountain of tears, more sick

people would be healed in these days. Around are the sick and suffering,

but alas, how few tears! When saints have so deepened into God, cultivated

such a tenderness of heart, and become so deeply compassionate, that they

will "water their couch with their tears all the night" at the sight of

sick persons, they will get answers to their prayers. To such God will

say, "Behold, I will heal him." If tears will not reach God, the case is

hopeless. Esau sought for a place of repentance and sought it with tears,

but could not find it. The mentioning of tears here implies that the

addition of tears to earnest heart-seeking has influence with God.

Jeremiah, in his lamentations for fallen Israel, said, "Oh, that my head

were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and

night for the slain of the daughter of my people!" He knew that if

anything would avail with God, it would be tears therefore he wished that

his eyes were a fountain of tears, so that God might be moved to save


"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." There can be no harvest from

seed sown unless the seed is watered. As you go out to sow seed in the

Master's field, water them with your tears if you would have a joyful

harvest. May God save his people from unfeelingness of heart! A soul with

no tears is a soul with no flowers. There is no verdure where there is no

water. Those who are not deep enough in God to shed tears over a lost and

ruined world are not deep enough to shed tears of joy over a soul's

salvation. Out from the depth of his heart Jesus cried, "O Jerusalem,

Jerusalem! how oft would I have gathered thee as a hen gathereth her brood

under her wing, but ye would not." When did you shed tears over lost

souls? Do you ever have a Gethsemane? Is your pillow ever dampened by

tears shed for a doomed world? Do you ever go out beneath the starry sky

and with outstretched arms cry in the severe pains of travail, "O lost

souls, lost souls! how oft would I have gathered thee to Jesus, as a hen

gathers her brood under her wing, but ye would not"? Only those who have

deep travail of soul for the lost can fully rejoice when the lost are


One of the apostles said he served the "Lord with many tears." A heart

from which flows no tears is not a heart that is wholly imbued by the

Spirit of God. Tears of compassion for the suffering, tears of warning and

entreaty for the lost, tears of joy for the saved, will flow through a

perfectly holy heart as freely as water through a sieve. Sunlight

perforates the block of ice from the center outward; so the love of God

perforates the heart to its depths and lets the tears of affection, pity,

and sympathy flow out.

Do not try to escape suffering. Do not shut your heart against sorrow. It

is the bruised flower that gives out the sweetest scent. Open thy heart to

God and let him bruise it, let sorrow flow in and break it, that sweetness

may flow out. When the poet sang:

"I no trouble and no sorrow

See today, nor will I borrow

Gloomy visions for the morrow,"

he sang not of sorrow for souls lost in sin, nor of needful heaviness

through manifold temptations, nor of sorrow awakened by the suffering of

others, but of that sorrow which arises from the world through distrust

and separation from God.

There is a sorrow which comes through Christ. It is as the refiner's fire,

purifying the soul and binding it closer to God. Such sorrow detaches the

heart from the world and from self, and hides it in God. It is impossible

for the soul to approach any degree of nearness to Christ only through

sorrow and suffering. In my own experience my heart once longed for deeper

grace. My whole soul breathed out, "O Jesus! give me more meekness." For a

few days a heavy cloud of sorrow lay upon me; when it had passed away, I

had an answer to my prayer.

I would have you beware of that unfeeling state in which one has no

sorrow, and mistakingly attributes its absence to grace. Grace helps us

bear sorrow, but does not harden our hearts against it. Sorrow brings us

to a throne of grace for grace and grace brings us joy, so that we have

joy in sorrow. No other joy is so sweet as this. It is the real and true

joy of Christ.