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God’s Tear Collection

The Scriptures are full of wonderful reminders that God cares about our sorrows. There are three passages that I find especially moving. The first is found in Psalms 56:8 (NLT)

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. 

You have recorded each one in Your book. 

David comforts himself that not the least tear escapes God’s notice. Every sadness He permits into our lives is measured by Him. Even treasured by Him. Stored in His bottle. Remembered. Written down. He does not take any of our sorrows dismissively or lightly. He also keeps record of them so that one day He can wipe ever tear from our eyes. That isn’t just saying there will be nothing to cry about in the future, but that God will take us on His knee, share in the fief of every tear together, and then wipe it away. Heal the memory. Give the full understanding of the necessity, the importance of every tear and set it in its good-working context so that it sparkles forever as a flawless, glorious diamond. Two incidents in the life of Jesus illustrate the way. God is moved by our tears and sorrows.The first is when He is defending His sabbath healing of the woman who had been suffering physically for eighteen years. Luke 13:15–17 (NKJV)

15 The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? 16 So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” 17 And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.

The NKJV captures Jesus’ interjection of “ἰδιώ” perfectly when it translates “think of it!” in the middle of the sentence. He calls these hard-hearted pharisees to empathize with her. To stop and feel what 18 years of suffering under the hateful torment of Satan through the pain and shame of physical illness would be like. The eternally tender God felt every ounce of her suffering with her and delighted to deliver her. If you have been in some prolonged season of sorrow or pain, know that God the Timeless One nevertheless feels every minute you endure with total empathy. He watches the clock and won’t let you suffer one second longer than is needful! The last passage is that famous scene when Jesus is on his way to raise Lazarus from the dead. He knows full well that He is about to call Him back from the grace moments later. However that joyful reality does not cause Him to laugh at the grieving of those whom He loves. Rather John writes to call our attention to how fully Christ is moved by the sorrow of death - in spite of the hope of the resurrection. Even the temporary experience of the grief of death is grievous to Him!

Greek scholars will tell us that the word for “groaned” in this passage is actually deep and overwhelming anger. Perhaps John is choosing His terms to hint at Christ’s frame of mind as to being moved to rage at the enemy “Death” that he was soon to destroy. However, the flow of the story leaves us picturing Jesus weeping with compassion and sympathetic sorrow not anger - for otherwise the comment of the others, “see how He loved him!” would not make sense. John 11:33–36 (NKJV)

33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?”

They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”

Even though God knows how He will wipe away our tears and make them all joy forever, He is moved to weeping with us when He sees us bent over in the sadness of this present moment.  What a tender and perfect Father we have in Heaven - who has revealed in His Word how He love us beyond what we can imagine!

In Christ,