3 My tears have been my food day and night,
While they say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
Psalm 42:3 (NIV)
How can tears be food? Food is that which sustains life. Without food, the human body withers and dies. The intake of food is a symbol of God’s blessing throughout the Scripture. One day, the redeemed will sit at the wedding “feast” of the lamb and will be nourished by the bounty of His table. Food, adds to life’s enjoyment
Tears on the other hand, are generally thought of as subtracting from life. We know there are tears of joy and gladness. But generally, when we see tears in others we assume some sadness or loss, or hurt, or injury, or betrayal, or disappointment, or longing, or death, or illness, or failure, or fear. Tears don’t add to life, they subtract.
But the Psalmist tells us something different, something that captures our attention. He is in pain. His enemies surround and taunt him. His soul languishes with longing for the presence of God. His spirit thirsts for a living relationship with the Living God. His psyche is downcast---a remarkably descriptive and evocative word for depression (cf. vs. 5).
But in the midst of the turmoil and angst of his situation these startling words arrest our eyes:
Tomorrow: some thoughts on why and when tears are some of the most nourishing food we could eat.