Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle. Are they not in thy book?
When I cry unto thee, then shall my enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.
Psalm 56 v 8,9
I am, as you may have realised, a big fan of The Message as a version of the Bible. For me, it often reflects the the things I am thinking and touches me in my day to day life.
There are times though, when only the King James will do. There is a poetry and an extra dimension that touches my soul. These verses, I think, have never been bettered. I was reminded of them this week when Charles Spurgeon’s devotional dropped into my inbox. I don’t think Christians are supposed to believe in coincidences but sometimes I think that we let God’s prompting pass us by and call it coincidence. I needed to be reminded of this and maybe you did too.
Put thou my tears into thy bottle
The Bible is a big book. It spans heaven and earth.It covers generations and nations. It speaks to kings and their armies and yet this is the most extraordinarily intimate sentence. It suggests that each individual tear I shed is carefully and lovingly collected. It is placed into a bottle and marked in a ledger. It is noted and remembered. It is not ignored or missed and I am not judged for my weakness or lack of faith.
When I cry unto thee, then shall my enemies turn back
More than this, these tears are prayers. They may never be written in a prayer book or read out in church but prayers they are and they are heard and God takes them and keeps them. All my tears.
The tears of solitude and loneliness when you wonder why things are like this and people act this way.
The tears of frustration at your own shortcomings and when you wonder if you will ever be able to get any of it right.
The tears of fear for your family and your future. When you hurt because your children hurt and there is nothing that you can do.
The tears of bereavement and loss. Not just for people, but for a life that you expected to have.
The tears that are shed when you know that you have been treated badly and feel that there is no-one to turn to.
Tears shed through sheer physical exhaustion when you are giving all you can and it doesn’t seem to be enough.
The tears you shed when you wonder if he is really there at all and if he is, why is life like this?
Not one is missed. Not one tear. Those times when our eyes brim with tears but we fight them back and no-one notices. God notices. If you don’t cry easily but feel inside as if you are crying out loud. God hears it as if it were audible to all.
Nothing is wasted. Nothing is missed. Your tears are prayers. God has heard.