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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tears in a bottle

One of my family in Canada posted this saying today:  "Tears are how our  heart speaks when our lips cannot describe how much we've been hurt."  I don't usually re-post some of these things, but when they catch my eye, I let them sink in and ponder them a little.  Since I am not one to cry at the drop of a hat, I began to ponder the tears of my "heart" and some of the things I was expressing in those tears.  The emotions ranged from extreme disappointment to sheer agony associated with great loss.  Our tears speak much, don't they?


You've kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.  (Psalm 56:8 The Message)

Another translation says God collects our tears in a bottle.  I imagine a huge room lined with shelves, bottles all lined up with little labels bearing each of our names.  From the very first tears cried as we came bawling into this world to the very last tear shed from our weary eyes, God collects them all.  For some, you bottle is a fifty gallon barrel!  For others, it is a nifty little crystal bottle with this little stopper in the top!  Regardless of the tears you shed - they all matter to God!

No one understands our heart better than God.  After all - he made it!  He connects with our emotions because he designed our emotions!  The most beautiful part of this is the fact he made us in HIS image - which means God cries, too!  Now ponder that one!  I wonder if the oceans and lakes might be the "reservoirs" of God's tears?  

Somehow it gives me comfort to know God knows the response of our emotions to the things we face in life.  Our tears cannot mask the hurt of our hearts, or fully declare the heights of joy we experience.  Yet, when we begin to really seek to understand the "unspoken" words of tears, we begin to see deeper into the heart of the one shedding those tears.  What have your tears been declaring about what has deeply affected your heart?

Looking again at our passage this morning, we find some awesome truth:

- God keeps track of our sleepless nights.  No amount of tossing and turning is without his concern.  His eye is on us in the darkness of the hour.  He sees every fretful toss and reaches out to us as we turn this way or that.  No amount of "repositioning" can soothe the worried heart, can it?  In fact, when we are fretful - God's response to us is clear - "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."  (I Peter 5:7 The Message)

- God never overlooks a tear.  In fact, whether he collects them in a bottle or enters them in a ledger, he never loses account of even one of them.  Have you ever been watching something and then missed something else?  We all have!  Thank goodness God is infinite - he is not limited by time, space, or focus!  He sees all and he accounts for all!  Have you ever shed a tear over a story told in a movie?  Even those tears don't escape his capture.  Why?  They express our ability to be moved!  God is never so delighted than to see his kids "moved" by what moves him!

- God knows our aches.  Not just the physical ones - though they may be many.  But...he knows the emotional ones, too.  The disappointments, the hopes dashed asunder, and the umteenth failure.  He knows them all - and he notes them!  I wonder why God takes such notice of our "aches"?  Did you ever stop to consider the positive side of your aches?  I think this is why he might just "record" them!  Aches are more than continuous pain - they are also the longings, yearnings, and eager expectations of our hearts!  Now, it begins to make sense why God may do more than record the stuff which brings us pain, doesn't it?  He "balances" the books, so to speak, by also keeping track of the things which we long for - the things which yank on the strings of our hearts.  Awesome!

Just a little perspective on what our God does with each tear, each fretful turn, and each ache of our heart.  Don't let the world tell you to mask these emotions - freely express them!  He wants those expressions of his image in each of us.  He relishes turning his attention to each and every one of them!  Just sayin!