“You number my wanderings; You put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?” (Psalm 56:8)
Grief, sorrow, pain and death cause the flood-gates of the human eye to open, with some more than others. Does God see? Does He care? The above verse from the Psalms seems to say that He is very much aware of human suffering, and by the use of this delightful poetry, He puts our tears in His bottle.
It could be that in 1970 Marsha Stevens-Pino saw this verse, and penned the lines of her song “For those tears I died”. The last lines of the chorus say – “I felt ev’ry teardrop when in darkness you cried, and I strove to remind you that for those tears I died.”
All very sentimental, and indeed well-liked. Nearly seven million hits to watch the You Tube rendition of the song is enough to prove the point. But this is where many Christians go wrong, simply because they do not read their Bibles. To put it frankly, Jesus did not die because of our tears but because of our sins.
Yes, God is a God of compassion. His heart must be deeply grieved to watch the outcome of man’s iniquity, and how it affects other people. He had to remind Jonah of this. “Should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left–and much livestock?” (Jonah 3:11) Not only children, but animals !!
“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who goes forth weeping, bearing seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:5-6) Listening to a missionary recently returned from a poverty-stricken area of the world, I learned how apt these words were to the local folk. To cast the seed into the ground was an act of sacrifice. “Shall I eat it now, or plant it for next year?” “Give up that which you hold most dear.” But God’s promise was that of a plentiful harvest.
This is the lesson Jesus taught when He spoke about “taking up one’s cross.” “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matt.16:25) A way of life that is fraught with many tears, and the Lord is very aware of this, and says that He will keep those tears in His bottle.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Rev.21:4) No matter what reverses this life may have, there will be a time when it will end. This is a precious promise found right at the end of our Bibles, showing us that a Christian’s walk of faith may indeed be compassed about with suffering and tears, but God has a purpose in allowing it to happen, rather than alleviating it. Because all those “who sow in tears shall reap with joy.” One learns, with Paul, “the fellowship of His sufferings, made conformable to His death.” (Phil.3:10)
There is no other religion in the world that has such a robust and meaningful message.