Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Bottled Up

Life doesn't always treat us the way we've planned.  Over the past month or so, my life has been turned inside out and upside down in more ways than one.  I've cried a lot of tears and felt a lot of pain.

There's this really amazing portion of a psalm (56:8) that has been rolling around in my heart:

"You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?"

In ancient times, mourners would collect their tears in a bottle.  The tears would be placed at the tomb of a loved one as a visual reminder of their grief.  

From Wikipedia:  "Tear Catchers were commonly used during Ancient Roman times, with mourners filling glass bottles with their tears, and placing them in tombs as a symbol of their respect for the deceased. It was also used to show remorse, guilt, love and grief. The women cried during the procession, and the more tears collected in tear bottles meant the deceased was more important. The bottles used during the Roman era were lavishly decorated and measured up to four inches in height.[1]
Tear bottles were designed with special seals, which allowed the tears to evaporate. By the time that the tears were assumed to have evaporated, the mourning period was considered over."

David's psalm supposes that God has collected his tears as a remembrance of David's mourning and trials.  God has numbered, not only the hairs of his head, but every tear drop he has shed, keeping track of them in a book.  This is, of course, figurative.  But how beautiful!

In the New Testament, the woman sits at Jesus' feet and washes His feet with her tears.  She then wipes them clean with her hair.  Some scholars have speculated that she had plenty of tears, because she had been collecting them.  But the death here was not of a friend, but of her own sins and self.  It was a show of surrender to the Lord.

Tears are healing.  I don't know what you're experiencing, but I do know you don't have to hold back or hide your tears from God.  And when you do, trust me, the healing can begin.  God is faithful.  God is love.  Of that I am confident.  Let Him hold your tears and heal your heart.