June 18, 2017

Where Tears Go

You number my wanderings;  
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?  Psalm 56:8

When I served as a lay counselor in our church in Houston before our move to Dallas nine years ago, there were always boxes of tissues on the tables in all the counseling rooms. Each session usually began with someone breaking down and crying and inevitably reaching for a Kleenex box and pulling out several tissues while tearfully saying, “I’m sorry.” 

The tears they spilled would open the way for them to let go of deep and troubling pain and finally share it with an objective party who could offer the words of hope and encouragement as counselors are trained to do. Often those tears had needed to be shed for a long time.

As we talked I would often share the verse in Psalm 56 that reminds us that God keeps our tears in a bottle. I would explain how He knows each tear that falls and He knows exactly what we are going through. I was surprised at the number of people who were not familiar with this verse and found that they always asked, “What verse is that? Can you write it down for me?”

This is a verse of great comfort. The visual portrayal of God collecting our tears communicates to us that they are important to Him. When I think of God keeping our tears in a bottle, I also tend to believe He holds them in His heart.

In verse 9 of this same chapter—a psalm written by David under great duress, David declares that God is for him. 

Yes, a God who cares about our tears is a God that is for us.

When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.  Psalm 56:9