I have cried many tears in my life. If you have never cried, you can stop reading right now. But if you have shed tears for yourself or for others, take heart. God knows the tears you have shed. Psalm 56:8 says so. Here are several translations of that wonderful verse:
Record my lament;
list my tears on your scroll —
are they not in your record? (NIV)
You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle
Are they not in Your book? (NASB)
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. (NLT)
Write down my poem of sadness.
List my tears on your scroll.
Aren’t you making a record of them? (NIRV)
I love the image of God keeping all my tears in a bottle. I can envision shelves filled with bottles in Heaven, each with a name on it, and an accompanying scroll documenting every tear and lament. Or maybe it is just one huge bottle with all of our tears mingled together.
Today tears are being shed in Poland and Kyrgyzstan, in dark rooms where children are being held as sex slaves, in Haiti as people remain homeless and without food, in Virginia in the wake of the coal mine explosion, in homes around the world where people are spiritually lost and have no hope.
We live in a fallen world. Tragedies happen and humans are not always kind to one another. And so tears are shed. It is hard to fathom God collecting every single one, but He does. He notices and He records each tear and each lament.
The more I think about it, I like the idea that God has mingled all our tears together. The Psalm does refer to God’s “bottle” in the singular. And if He has collected every tear in that bottle, then mingled with our own are the tears of Jesus. In John 11, the apostle records this event: “Jesus wept.” John 11:35.
In this passage, Jesus weeps when He learns of the death of Lazarus. When they see Him weeping, the people say “See how he loved him!” John 11:36. But I don’t think Jesus was weeping because Lazarus was dead – He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. Rather, I think He wept because of the compassion He felt for humanity as we weep over our own tragedies and losses. It is us that He loved so much that it brought Him to tears.
So if you weep today, remember that God is collecting your tears in His bottle, and mixing them with the tears of our dear Savior. Not only that, but God will deliver you from the trials that lead to tears.
For You have delivered my soul from death,
Indeed my feet from stumbling,
So that I may walk before God
In the light of the living. Psalm 56:13.