Tears in a Bottle

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.

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


6 Responses

  1. What an incredible, absolutely mind-boggling concept–the God of heaven, Creator of eternity, cares enough about my (our) tears that He knows and remembers–Paul and Timothy, both, minister with tears! Maybe that’s the “course” we didn’t take in Seminary! Tears 101! Why would a holy, sinless, glorious God be mindful and care about the tears of “grass-hoppers” (Isa. 40:22)? The child in the grocery store today who was crying, actually more like screaming, got absolutely no attention from the parent! Our God, always righteous and wise, might say NO, but He never forgets our tears or why we have them! Blessings, Kirk

    • Kirk, Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment. I like your scenario about the crying child. How often do we find no one on earth who cares about our tears? But God does. Mind-boggling indeed. Peace, Linda

  2. this topic on tears brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for articulating it soo well to bring a different perspective on my thinking. Many times i have asked my friends to cry to the Lord as He alone collects our tears and looks at them when he wants to bless us.

    New meaning of mixing my tears with that of our Lord Jesus. This is owesome and am totally overwhelmed by the thought. Jesus cried for our sin. It pained him to see us not connecting with God. We certainly cry when self unsatisfactory feelings get on us. How can the two types of tears be put together? Yes, God collects them together!

  3. That passage about our tears being put in His bottle is a favorite of mine, and the subject of our tears has for many years been of interest to me. I had never considered the idea of all of our tears going into one bottle. But it is true that the psalmist does use the pronoun “your”, and he doesn’t say “in one of your bottles”. It is funny how we can overlook things like that. I guess I am so used to going to Psalms when I am looking for passages of scripture that focus on the intimacy we can experience with the Lord.

    However, I really like the way you brought up how our tears are mingled both with the Lord’s tears and the tears of other believers; it takes the idea of the unity we have with each other in Christ to a new level for me, and I have recently been contemplating the fact that I have failed to value that as much as I should have at times. Thank you. This blessed me.

    • Theresa, Thank you for your kind words. I also love the Psalms. I have a great book called “The Psalms for Prayer” that includes all of the Psalms with suggestions for related prayers interspersed throughout each Psalm and a suggested reading from another book of the Bible. I use it when I feel the need to cry out to God regarding some problem or want to Praise Him using the words of the Psalms. What a rich treasure God has given us! Peace, Linda

  4. Linda,

    Beautiful thought…I have promised myself that I will not cry in front of others for a specific prayer request in my life…and that it will remain a secret between me and my Lord..I’m glad that He collects all my tears, when everybody else notices only a happy face.

    Thank you for that thought..
    God Bless,

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