Does God cry?

As humans, we cry in intense emotional situations of happiness or sadness. Some people cry more than others, but at some point in life, everyone cries. Because we were created in God's image (Genesis 1:27), it's fair to ask if God cries. We know that God experiences a wide spectrum of emotions, but do they look the same as ours?

God's emotions look closest to ours when we look at Jesus Christ. Jesus, being God in human form, cried just as other people (Philippians 2:6–11). When Lazarus died, "Jesus wept," even though He knew that He would raise him from the dead (John 11:34–44). Jesus cried over the city of Jerusalem, knowing the harm and destruction that would befall it (Luke 19:41–44). The night before His crucifixion, Jesus expressed deep sorrow in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:38–39). Hebrews describes the intensity of Jesus' tears: "In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him" (Hebrews 5:7–9). Even though Jesus knew how these situations would end, as a human, He cried just as we would in the same situations (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus explains that "God is spirit" (John 4:24). The Father and the Holy Spirit do not cry literal tears as we do. However, God is described as having strong emotions such as sadness (Genesis 6:6; Psalm 78:40), grief (Isaiah 63:10; Ephesians 4:30), anger (Jeremiah 8:19), rejoicing (Zephaniah 3:17; Isaiah 62:5), and compassion (Psalm 103:8; Joel 2:13). Though God is described in these ways, it isn't quite the same as how humans experience and process emotions. Because He is outside of time, God can see circumstances as they are now as well as how they will turn out in the future. Many times, we cry over situations that are overwhelming or uncertain to us. God does not have that element of uncertainty to deal with. He is never overwhelmed, for He has all authority in heaven and on earth (Psalm 115:3; 135:6; Job 23:13; Daniel 4:35).

Jesus' life on the earth shows us the empathy of God the Father. In fact, Jesus told His disciples this truth: "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). God gave us the ability to cry as a way of processing our emotions. While God has emotions, He does not have to cry to express them. He is never anxious for He knows how everything will turn out: "Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure" (Psalm 147:5; see also Isaiah 40:28). God's plans and purposes will ultimately be accomplished (Isaiah 46:9–10). Though He may not shed physical tears, God does not overlook our tears; He cares very deeply about our sorrows and walks with us in them (Psalm 56:8; Hebrews 4:15; Romans 12:15).

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