top of page

Singing Psalm 42 you feed on tears

How do you make tears your food? What kind of tears fill you up?

What creatures feed on tears?

At least one insect does. A Malagasy moth, genus: Hemiceratoides, species: hieroglyphica. These moths feed on tears of birds as they sleep and are nourished from the salts in those tears.

“I thirst for God, the living God;    When will I see the face of God?” ~ Psalm 42:2

The Lord has given you a mental proboscis of a heart that pants for living water. He expects you to use it to draw out nourishment from the Bread of Life, the Living Water, God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He impresses upon you the all-consuming nature of your seeking God, that he be fully present with you at all times, your all-in-all. To get there, it will stretch you. To go from where you are to where you want to be, you have to cry out for it. You feed on tears because those desperate tears, sometimes wet and sometimes dry, mark the trail that leads you near to God. The difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge of God can be compared to the difference between walking past someone on the street and being married to that person. You hardly notice the person you walk past and you wouldn’t miss a beat if you never saw that person again. In a good marriage, each person cannot imagine being without the other and often they go to desperate measures to be together. Since none of us are as close to God as we would like to be, we feed on tears that our heart moves us to shed because any step closer to God is a nourishing step indeed.

“Tears are my food both day and night.

    All day men say, ‘Where is your God?’” ~ Psalm 42:3

In humble reliance on the Lord for life and relationships, he causes you to become the salt of the earth. You get to preserve and enhance the flavor of life and relationships as salt flavors the food that keeps us alive and in relationships.

Singing Psalm 42 you feed on tears of sorrow

You feed on tears of sorrow when you are in despair over being forgotten, neglected, misunderstood and/or ignored.

“My soul, why so cast down, disturbed?” ~ Psalm 42:5a

“The sting of regret is a spur that digs into my side and drives me forward on a different course, and I dare not ignore it.” ~ The Good in Regret by Seth Lewis

Despair is the first step to hope which may seem counterintuitive. But unless you admit despair, you would not search for a way out of it. You might convince yourself that you are not in despair, simply, because you do not wish to be in despair. Yet living in a pretense is exhausting and cannot be sustained.

“My God, my soul is in despair;

    I therefore will remember you…” ~ Psalm 42:6

Singing Psalm 42 gives you the courage to admit your despair and also keeps you from wallowing in the pit of despair.

“O why, my soul, do you despair?” ~ Psalm 42:11a

As you wait on the Lord, are you waiting for him or for what you hope he will do?

We sometimes find ourselves in a trance habitually trusting men instead of God. Even putting our trust fully in good men is a trap. We are careful to avoid evil men because of their deceitfulness and treachery, but oftentimes allow a good man to replace God in our hearts. You might go to a good man for help before considering going to God. You might not even know to desire and expect to be rewarded with God, himself. Then, whatever your petition, you might be reluctant to accept his answer, whether yes, no, or wait.

If yes, you are not sure it will last. If no, you think perhaps you’re missing out. If wait, your eye is on that thing, and you think you can’t enjoy your life until you get it. This would explain why your soul is in despair when it is. But, it’s hard to admit being in despair when there’s a fear of what you think that says about your relationship with God. Yet David and those with him didn’t let perceptions stop them from being gut level honest, laying their distress before the Lord:

“Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep.” ~ 1 Samuel 30:4

About the waiting aspect, it’s not the goal to be complacent about the good that you want to do for others, but that you couple that desire with being content to wait on the Lord for how to proceed in the works that he has prepared in advance for you to do that will first glorify him and second, do good for his people. It’s the two greatest commandments obeyed in the right order.

How quick we can be weighed down by consumer anxiety, heeding the warnings of man that are driven by marketing and yet ignoring the warnings of God that are driven by his love! The most revolutionary concept is the simplest. What would it take for you to trust that Jesus fully satisfies you? Until you can say and mean it from the depths of your heart that Jesus truly satisfies you, you don’t need prayer for this or that change in your character, for wisdom, humility, or even love. The greatest thing I could ask for, that would meet my every need and desire, is for God to give me himself. Having him means having all and lacking nothing. You feed on tears until you understand this not just in your head but in your heart. You feed on tears of sorrow while you are still looking for lesser things to satisfy you. You start to feed on tears of joy as you begin to root out those lesser things from your heart.

When I feed on tears of regret that come from lack of foresight and selfishness, I know that I want to be willing to lose all to follow Jesus. Yet I must be willing to cry out to him and feed on tears of anticipation and joy when he helps me. Because without his help, I would be stuck in my old ways of selfishness, thinking of nothing or no one but myself and what I want.

Jesus says to follow him, the good Shepherd. You feed on tears as you embark on following him with no regret, trusting him, enduring the suffering for the joy set before you. That joy is first in being with the Lord, and second, being with his people who also love him as you do, with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Your joy is also in pointing people to Jesus who seeks and saves the lost, those who are not yet God’s people, those who are still lost as you were and still don’t know the saving mercy of Jesus that could be theirs. So making God your all does not turn you into an isolated person. On the contrary, it has the potential to connect you with anyone with whom you have an opportunity to communicate.

My attempts to draw water from sources other than the Living Water left me not just dehydrated but dying of thirst. As a child, I disobeyed my parents, did not heed their warnings, and did not honor them. I despised their discipline and did not learn from it. The Lord, in his mercy and grace, disciplined me for my good, though at first, I received it with an attitude not too different from the attitude I had toward my parents. God didn’t give up on me, though, and over time, I began to see his hand of love in the things he brought into my life that I did not want, and in his taking away things from my life that I desperately wanted. The Lord of all sent Tolkien’s Sméagol (later, Gollum) to pry from my hands that which would have destroyed me. Only later did I see his perfect wisdom in rooting out the idols from my heart.

Our parents discipline us imperfectly as they think best, but God indeed disciplines us for our good. We would do well to never despise it but to embrace it. Tolkien’s Bilbo entrusted his nephew, Frodo, with a frighteningly powerful, heart-captivating inheritance that could only be of use by being destroyed. If the Lord takes anything from you or prevents you from having something, it means that the thing was used to draw you to himself and then is no longer useful to you, or if having it would not be a means to draw you to himself, it’s best that you never had it to begin with.

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:25-30

Coming to Jesus, you are properly attended to and given the attention you need that equips you to build bridges of connection as he did for those you read about in God’s Word as sources of inspiration. They attributed the good they thought, said, and did, to Jesus who repairs our relational breaches toward God and man. He created you to seek him. He made you for himself. Though his discipline might feel like thundering wrath in a downpour, his teaching woos you like gentle rain.

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us…” ~ Acts 17:26-27

God remembers and cherishes you who are trusting him. He gives you what it takes to establish rapport that transforms relationships.

“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.” ~ Job 5:17-18

Feelings change and sometimes swing widely, but the Lord Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. You feed on tears, but after a while, as you draw closer to the Lord, you don’t even notice them as you stand firm under his waterfalls, entrenched in,  saturated with, and captivated by the love of your all-in-all. They become mere drops of water lost in his ocean of grace and mercy.

Whitewater Falls, North Carolina; Photo by John Hamrick

“There deep calls deep, Your waterfalls,    There all Your waves roll over me.” ~ Psalm 42:7

Singing Psalm 42 you feed on tears of joy

Only after recognizing the love that motivated God’s discipline in my life did I come to appreciate my parents’ attempts to instill wise, freedom-inducing restraint into my character. Many years later, when my parents’ needs were obvious, it was the Lord who moved my heart to desire to make some return to my parents and to find joy in appreciating their efforts to give to me and teach me right from wrong. Once I internalized God’s forgiving me for my self-orientation, it was only reasonable for me to forgive my parents for the ways that they were not there for me, and what is more, that to forgive greatly pleases God. When we forgive, we imitate God’s heart.

The Lord not only commands that forgiveness be sincere from the heart, but he transforms the heart so that it could be no other way. The man who forgives does himself good. The man who doesn’t forgive drinks poison hoping that the one he won’t forgive will die from it. The Lord commands and leads you to forgive because he is a friend who teaches you to how to be one too.

The best thing any of us could ask for ourselves is to have the desire to please God. That alone will inoculate you from every form of rebellion, bitterness, and disordered desire that might pop into your mind or that might be placed there by others who have you pegged as an easy target to sway. You need look no further than learning from Jesus in his Word for how to please God.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” ~ Hebrews 4:12

Lord, will you bless all young people with all the benefits of learning to please you at a young age? Would you help all older people to continue striving to learn to please you and be pleasantly surprised as you restore their youth like the eagle’s?

With God, you can feed on tears and have them too since he stores each of your wet and dry tears in his bottle. Not one will be wasted as he supernaturally nourishes you with each one.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” ~ John 4:10

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” ~ John 6:35

The Lord Jesus has given you the psalms to sing to move your mind and heart to make distinctions toward a close friendship and an intimate affection for God who is Father, Son, and Spirit, for your soul to pant for him as a deer pants for water brooks. Sing the psalms to knit your heart to God’s, toward an intentional emotional connection with him who is holy where he becomes your heart’s desire. Sing the psalms as his hidden footprints lead you to engage in the moment-by-moment process of seeking him, learning him, trusting him, and following him. Sing the psalms to ready your heart to receive the Lord Jesus, the bridge of connection to friendship with the Lord your God, and by extension, the only way to enjoy friendships with one another. In God alone, you find everlasting pleasure and true love.

“The LORD sends forth His love by day,

    At night His song will be with me,

My prayer to God who makes me live.” ~ Psalm 42:8

I write with hope not because I have arrived at achieving ultimate communication but because I believe this is what God has for our relationships as we live according to his ways. It is a work in progress that God is holding my hand to help me attain it step-by-step with every psalm that I sing, with each one of his words that he has preserved for us in the Bible. I feed on tears in this process, both tears of sorrow and tears of joy. Each tear acknowledges that there is a problem that only Jesus can fix. It’s the heart that cries out to him in sorrow and malnutrition that attaches to his presence where tears of sorrow transform into tears of joy and nourishment. He renews alienated minds with a willingness to connect and be available as he makes all things new in his perfect timing.

When you want to give up, be encouraged by David’s honest communication that flows from his confidence in God as his stronghold here:

Then I will say to God my Rock:

    Did you forget?

Why must I mourn

    Because I see the foe oppress?

As if to shatter all my bones,

    My foes have cut me with their words.

    All day they scoff, ‘Where is your God?’” ~ Psalm 42:9-10

Have you been scoffed at and scorned by others who observe your relationship challenges and so much as say to you, “Where is your God?” They see no success in your efforts to connect and don’t see how you are close to God. Probably not too many things hurt more on the inside than that. Just ask Job. Think of how Jesus was viewed on the road to Emmaus.

The hope for biblical counsel is to point you to Jesus who helps you to live by faith in him and not by sight, to overcome stops in communication, to learn to listen to each other, and to communicate in new ways that would enhance your relationships in life by getting to our hearts. Many parents feel a disconnect with their children that causes family stress, but when they build a bridge of connection, it establishes rapport that transforms relationships. Friends misunderstand one another, but if two people are willing and available, God is able to see them through to the other side of the misunderstanding. It takes a long time to design, build, maintain, and renovate a safe and sturdy bridge that can withstand the weight of relational strain. Yet it is only Jesus who intervened and instantly built an indestructible bridge for you to cross over to God at the cross. The hope is to remove the stigma of needing God’s intervention and free you to feed on tears. Crying out to God is your deep, heartfelt acknowledgment that something is amiss. Rather than relying on self to figure out how to make it right, remaining in despair, or running to false hopes, you can come to Jesus for help and rest.

“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” ~ Colossians 1:19-20

May you be filled with all the fullness of God as you trust him when the way up is down, when the way to hope is admitting despair, and when the way to joy is through sadness. May your heavenly Father draw you near as you feed on tears of both sorrow and joy, partaking in, relying on, hoping in, and waiting for the Lord Jesus. He is your Bread of Life and your Living Water who alone satisfies. He is right here with you and is all you need.

“As pants the deer for water brooks,

    So pants my soul for You, O God…

Hope now in God; I’ll praise Him still.

    He is my Help. He is my God.” ~ Psalm 42:1, 5b, 11b

June 3, 2022 – May 10, 2024


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page