Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Time to Weep

Leslie Basham: Getting comfortable with sin is like being in a burning house. Those inside need a loud, immediate warning. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You’re in a burning house, and you ought to weep over what this is doing to you and your children and grandchildren, to future generations and to those around you and to the culture.

We are part of this. We’ve got to take responsibility and wail before God.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, April 21.

Yesterday we heard part one of the message A Call for the Wailing Women. Nancy, it was so appropriate for our day, even though you delivered it under quite different circumstances.

Nancy: Ten years ago, the nation was reeling as reports began to emerge about how two students had embarked on a massacre at a high school near Littleton, Colorado, killing twelve students and a teacher and wounding twenty-three others before committing suicide. It was a tragic event that made an indelible mark on the soul of our nation.

Just about a month after those tragic killings at Columbine High School, I was speaking at a conference called “Chosen Women” in Anaheim, California. With the Columbine tragedy so fresh in everyone’s minds, the message God put on my heart for that conference was A Call for the Wailing Women, harkening back to a passage in the book of Jeremiah.

Now in the tenth anniversary of the Columbine shooting, I felt it would be appropriate to air the message I gave back in 1999.

The conference was held in an outdoor amphitheater, and it was an extremely windy day, so the audio for this message is not exactly what we would consider broadcast quality. But I think you’ll hear my heart as I share, and I trust that God will speak to your heart, because today no less than ten years ago we need a call for the wailing women.

Nancy: Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet, the man who poured out his heart for the wayward people of God. In Jeremiah 9:1 (NIV), Jeremiah says,

Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people.

When I read those words, I can’t help but think of the heart of our Savior, who we read about in Luke 19:41, as He beheld the city and wept over it. The word weep there is a word that means “sob; to wail aloud; a loud expression of grief, especially in mourning for the dead.”

Ladies, this is not a time for playing games. It’s not a time for partying. This is a time to wail, to mourn, to grieve over what is happening in our land, in our homes, in our churches. This is not just someone else’s problem. We’ve got to make it our problem.

Hosea tells us that there are two different kinds of weeping, and I think it’s important that we realize that. In Hosea 7:14, God says these people “do not cry out to me from their hearts.” Instead they “wail upon their beds.”

What’s the difference? Those who merely wail upon their beds are remorseful, but they’re unwilling to move or to change; whereas, those who cry out to God from their hearts are genuinely repentant.

Those who wail upon their beds cry out for relief, but they are still defiant. They still insist on having it their way; whereas, those who cry out to God from their heart cry out in surrender.

Those who wail upon their beds focus on their pain, on their woundedness, on their problem. But those who cry out from their hearts take personal responsibility for their own sinfulness. They realize that the core issue of our lives is not ultimately our woundedness but our estrangement from a holy God.

Those who wail upon their beds blame others, but those who cry out from their heart acknowledge their own responsibility.

Those who wail upon their beds are self-centered. Their consideration is, “How does all this affect me?” But those who cry out to God from their hearts are God-centered. They realize that ultimately it doesn’t matter how it affects me, because it’s not about me. It’s about Him. And they grieve over how a holy God has been offended.

Those who wail upon their beds cry out for relief, but those who cry out to God from their hearts cry out for mercy.

What should we weep about? What should we wail about?

Well, not just the consequences of our sin, but our sin itself. We ought to weep about the sin in our nation as it flaunts wickedness and as it calls evil good and good evil.

I don’t know how people can watch the television news today and keep their hearts and minds from becoming defiled. It’s a wicked, dark, corrupt world, and you’re seeing it on the television night after night.

Some of us have heard it so much and for so long that we’re desensitized. We don’t even realize how wicked it all is.

We need to:

  • weep over the violence
  • weep over the perversion
  • weep as the things of God are mocked and scorned in our land
  • weep over our families
  • weep over the rebellion.

Over and over and over again I’m receiving these prayer cards from Christian women in evangelical churches who are pouring out their hearts for their children or their grandchildren who grew up in the church but have no heart for the things of God.

I spoke recently at a Christian school to some faculty and staff and parents. The spiritual counselor at the school said to me, “We need this message here because the kids in this Christian school”—these are her words—“hate God.”

And it’s true. I’m hearing, “What has happened in our homes, in our Christian homes? We’ve produced not just a few but a whole crop of young people who cannot stand the things of God.”

We need to weep over the rebellion in our homes, the immorality, the culture of divorce. I don’t think we realize what has happened through this whole culture of divorce.

For the first time in recent years, the divorce rate inside the church is higher than the divorce rate out in the secular world. We’ve got to weep and wail over the fact that we have broken covenant with God.

We need to weep over our churches. We’re playing church. We’re so busy trying to be relevant to the world that we’ve become just like the world. And the world is not impressed.

We need to weep and wail over our sin as Christian women. I know this is not politically correct, but we’ve got to get back to the Word of God, what’s biblically correct, and say, “O God, we have sinned against You as Christian women.”

Everywhere I go, when I speak on the subject of forgiveness, I ask women, “How many of you would be honest enough to say, ‘There’s a root of bitterness or unforgiveness in my heart’?”

Invariably 85–95% of the hands of Christian women go up into the air. We must weep and wail over the fact that we are a bitter, unforgiving group of Christian women.

I’m hearing Christian women express their anger. We’re an angry, demanding group of women. We need to confess it and weep over it, to weep over our lack of submission to God’s authority and the authorities He’s placed in our lives.

We’ve grown up in a “rights crazed” generation, and many of us have bought into that bill of goods. We’ve been deceived by the enemy into believing that we can “have it our way,” that we ought to be in control of our lives and our world and the people around us. So we’ve become controllers and manipulators rather than having that meek and quiet spirit that trusts in God, that yields our rights.

We need to weep over the sin among Christian women of immodesty, lack of discretion. I received a letter just a week or so ago from a woman who said you can hardly go to church today without seeing women dressed like the world, immodest; not, as the Scripture says, with modesty and femininity and sobriety [see 1 Timothy 2:9].

Weep over our lack of discretion. Weep over the fact that we’ve been deceived; that we’ve prioritized careers over family, over being wives and mothers; that we’ve not taught our children the ways of God; that we’ve not protected our children from ungodly and unholy influences; that we have broken vows, our marriage covenant and our vows before God.

We need to weep not only over the sins of women in general but over our own sins, over own hardness of heart. There are women in this place—I don’t know who you are, but God has been speaking to you today—women who are involved right now in a relationship that is immoral and ungodly.

You’re in a burning house, and you ought to weep and wail over what this is doing to you and your children and grandchildren, to future generations and to those around you and to the culture. We are part of this. We’ve got to take responsibility and wail before God.

In Lamentations 2:19 (KJV), the prophet says,

Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the [night] watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street.

Now, I’ll tell you this: We can’t manufacture weeping and wailing. But when we get in the presence of God and then look around, God is going to cause a groaning, a moaning, an intensity, a compulsion in our hearts. We’ll no longer be able to be complacent, and we will move from merriment to mourning.

Several weeks ago, as I returned home from a conference, I was sitting at a table reading these prayer cards. I’m not a big weeper, but I found myself just weeping before the Lord, saying, “Oh, God, what is wrong?”

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). The time for comfort will come. The time for rejoicing will come. But first the mourning, although we would ask God to put in our hearts a sense of our great need to mourn.

Not only are we to wake up, to turn from complacency to concern, to wail, to turn from merriment to mourning, but, number three, the prophets says, warn others. Move from isolation to influence.

We have such a powerful influence as women, and few of us realize how great that is. The prophets realized it. That’s why they said that we have an influence on men and on our children and on others. “Let them come quickly and wail over us” (Jeremiah 9:18).

Who is the “us”? Over the men. “Till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids.”

Women know how to cry. The problem is, we use our tears so many times for the wrong purposes—to manipulate when we don’t get our way. That’s what usually makes me cry—when I don’t get my way.

But the prophet says, “Weep over the right things.” Weep over the grief and the offense that’s been committed against a holy God. Then the men will be motivated to weep, to pour out their hearts before God.

Then he says, “Now, O women, hear the word of the Lord; open your ears to the words of his mouth” (Jeremiah 9:20). As we heard earlier today, we’ve got to become women of God’s Word, women who know this Book and who know how to apply it to real-life situations in our generation.

Then he says to those who have heard the word of the Lord, “Teach your daughters how to wail; teach one another a lament.”

That’s our influence—to warn others by our tears and our heavy-heartedness and our grieving over the condition of our nation. We become a means of influence over the hearts of others.

It takes boldness. It takes courage, because ours is not a popular message. We may not be believed. We may not be heeded. But we have to say it anyway.

A great writer of the past century said this:

The greatest influence on earth, whether for good or for evil, is possessed by woman. A community is not likely to be overthrown where woman fulfills her mission. For by the power of her noble heart towards others she will raise it from its ruins and restore it again to prosperity and joy.

Women, we’ve been chosen not just to belong to God but to be God’s instruments in this dark and perverse culture. The influence of one woman for evil or for good is so powerful.

I don’t suppose we see that any more clearly than in the distinction between two biblical women: Eve in the Old Testament and Mary the mother of Jesus in the New.

Eve asked herself, “What do my feelings say?” but Mary said, “What is faith saying?”

Eve said, “What’s best for me?” but Mary said, “What’s best for others?”

Eve said, “I want to have it my way,” but Mary said, “I want to have it God’s way.”

Eve said, “It’s all about me,” but Mary said, “It’s all about Him.”

Eve said, “What do I want?” but Mary said, “What does God want?”

Eve said, “What looks good?” and Mary said, “What is good?”

Eve said, “What do I think?” but Mary said, “What has God said?”

What was the result? Two powerful, influential women. Eve led her husband and the human race into sin and darkness. But Mary, through the power of her surrendered life, became the instrument of bringing the Savior into the world.

Our lives are a powerful influence on those around us. Oh, that we would use that influence to show our mates, our children, others in the body of Christ the critical condition we are in so that they will be motivated to join us in weeping, repenting, and crying out to God for mercy.

So the prophets say, “Wake up.” Turn from complacency to concern.

Then, “Wail!” Turn from merriment to mourning.

Then he says, “Warn others.” Move from isolation to influence.

Then finally, “Wait on the Lord.” Move from fear to faith.

The prophet Isaiah speaks of the power of God to transform the most hopeless situation. He says it will all begin when “the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the desert [the dry place, the barren place] becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest” (Isaiah 32:15). There we will find justice and righteousness, peace, quietness, and confidence forever (see verses 16-17).

And then he says, “My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest” (Isaiah 32:18). Move from fear to faith.

He continues in the next chapter with this prayer:

O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. . . . The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge (Isaiah 33:2, 5-6).

But the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. Yes, there is hope, but He is our only hope.

Sociologists are busy trying to come up with the answer. HE is the answer. So we must pray for an outpouring of the Spirit of God in our day.

The renowned Puritan Thomas Brooks of the seventeenth century said,

After much praying, waiting, and weeping, God usually comes with his hands and heart full of mercy to his people. He loves not to come . . . empty-handed, to those that have sat long with [tearful] eyes at mercy’s door.1

Pray for an outpouring of the Spirit in our day.

When it seems that the wait is long, don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up hope. Be faithful. Because I want to tell you, God has written the final chapter. He will have the final word.

The day is coming when heaven will be opened and we will see a rider coming upon a white horse. His name is Faithful and True.

With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven [will follow] him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:11-16).

He is God’s great eternal I Am. Amen. And in that day there will be no more darkness. There will be no more sin. There will be no more sorrow. There will be no more tears. There will be no more pain. Prayer will be turned to praise, and faith will be turned to sight.

So, chosen women, wait on the Lord. Let fear be turned to faith.

As we wait, let us be awake, alert to our current situation, alert to the certain coming judgment of God. And let us wail. The time for uninterrupted rejoicing is coming, but it is not yet.

Now we weep. We wail. Let merriment be turned to mourning. Let us warn others. Let us move from isolation to influence. And let us wait on the Lord, moving from fear to faith.

Would you bow your hearts with me in prayer?

Holy, holy, holy Father, great are You and greatly to be praised; and this day we worship You as the sovereign Lord and Ruler of this universe. We lift our eyes up to You, and we say, “O God, we desperately need You in this dark hour.”

Give us, O God, I pray, eyes to see what You see and hearts that feel what You feel. May we grieve over what grieves Your heart.

I pray that in these days You will cause us to wake up. Some of us are sleeping behind the wheel, oblivious to the fact that the car we’re in is careening toward judgment.

Wake us up to the fact that we’re in a burning house and that our task here on this earth as Your chosen women is to warn others of the danger. Lord, there are women in this place today who need to be warned, who need to wake up to the situation in their own life, their own home.

Give us the compassion and fervor and purity of heart to care, to wail, to weep over the condition we’re in. Use us as women to influence others, and then cause us to wait with our eyes fixed on You, not to live in fear but to walk by faith.

Oh, God, we cry out to You. Have mercy on us this day. Heal our hearts, our homes, our churches, and our land. For Jesus’ sake I pray it, amen.

Nancy: Well, that message is ten years old, given just after the Columbine massacre. The audio is poor because it was in an outdoor arena with the wind blowing and not an ideal audio environment, but the burden I shared that day is the burden that is still very much on my heart.

I have to tell you, this is not a message that is popular today. We don’t want messages telling us to weep and wail and to repent and to wait on the Lord and cry out to Him.

But that’s what we must do if we’re to experience in our day the revival and the awakening that our land so desperately needs. And I believe that many of our listeners have that kind of heart and that God has put that burden on you.

You may be the only one, or one of just a few in your family or your church or your community. You may feel very alone, but I want to encourage you: Keep crying out to the Lord. Keep waiting on Him, and keep asking Him to touch His people and to touch this nation with His power and His glory in our day.

If you’d like to have a copy of the message we aired yesterday and today, A Call for the Wailing Women, we’d be glad to send that to you when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Just call us at 800-569-5959. Request the CD, and let us know that you’d like to make a donation to help us continue extending this call across our nation.

You can also contact us online at ReviveOurHeartsRadio.com.

Oh, Lord, how I pray that in our day You would do a fresh work in the hearts of women; that we would hear Your call, that we would listen and respond and become repentant, wailing women crying out to You on behalf of our families and churches and nation. I pray that You would hear from heaven, that You would come and answer.

Glorify Yourself in our day I pray, O Father, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie Basham: Strong. Courageous. Do those words describe you? They can if God’s strength and courage are working through you. Nancy will pick up in a series on Joshua tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

1The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, published by J. Nichol, 1866, p. 371.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.