Jump Start # 3475
Psalms 56:8 “You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?”
The holidays are upon us. Last minute shopping and baking cookies are making households busy. Christmas shows are being watched. The Elf on the shelf has moved about the house each night. The children are excited and the parents are exhausted. For many, the next few days will be time away from work and hours spent with family making memories. We have made the rounds to three of the four sets of kids and grandchildren and one more still to come.
But in all of this exciting times, for others, this season is really hard. There is someone missing this year because of a death. The holidays are just not the same. For other families, there has been an emotional death. Strained relationships. Grown children who do not want to visit their parents. The tension is thick. It’s just not a happy time. And, all the images of family smiles and hugs only deepens the pain that some feel.
In our verse today, written by David when the Philistines captured him, reminds us of the sorrow and tears that some feel. For David, it wasn’t missing someone at Christmas, it was being God’s anointed yet having to flee for his life and hide among the enemy.
In a poetic fashion, David writes that God has put his tears in a bottle. Jim Croce sang about putting time in a bottle. Some have placed notes in a bottle and thrown the bottle into the sea. I have a bottle of coins sitting on my shelf. I’ve seen old marbles in a bottle. But for David, it was tears. It was his tears. It is as if God was saving those tears.
We understand literally this cannot be done. The tears would evaporate after time and God doesn’t have a real shelf of bottles up in Heaven. We know that, but the image is clear and helpful. Now, why would God put our tears in a bottle? Why would God save those tears? We tend to wipe the tears away. We want to move past the tears and find joy and laughter in our lives.
Here are just some ideas:
First, maybe God saves those tears to show us later on, that things weren’t as bad as we thought they were. Oh, at the time, those events brought tears to our eyes and sorrow to our hearts, but later on, we’ve realized that the situation wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought. Aside, from the big tragedies in our lives, such as the death of a close family member, most of us don’t remember the tears from a couple of years ago, let alone, a decade ago. Life moves on. We’ve gotten through whatever crisis was before us.
Second, maybe those tears are reminders of how God helped us. As we cried, we prayed. As we shed those tears, hopeless and helpless, God somehow took care of us. He did that for David. The Philistines didn’t kill David. Fear and not knowing what the next turn will bring to us, makes us anxious, sad and a mess emotionally. But God strengthened us. Prayers were answered. Brethren helped us. Doors were opened. And, those many tears remind us that God never left us. God was there to help us. We have gotten through those tears because of the help of God.
Third, maybe those tears also remind us of God’s wonderful grace. Some tears are shed because of our mistakes and sins. We have let others down. We have hurt others. Guilt and shame came with those tears. But God wasn’t through with us. Family and brethren might have written us off, but God didn’t. His love and grace gave us more than another chance. Redeemed, God found a useful place for us in His kingdom. Those tears remind us of our great God who loves us so much.
The Revelation picture of Heaven is that God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. In Heaven there is no crying, mourning or pain. Tears in a bottle will remind us that Heaven is not earth and how thankful we are to be there.
For some, God may have several bottles of tears. That’s ok. The tears will end and the joy of being in His presence will make us realize that what happened before doesn’t matter any longer, nor do the problems and pain last .
Tears in a bottle. What a wonderful reminder for us. And, for those that are hurting his holiday season, your tears and your sorrow are not forgotten by the Lord. Tomorrow, we will add a few more thoughts to this line of thinking.