When David was seized by the Philistines in Gath he wrote the words of a prayer (Psalm 56). He asks for mercy, he asks for God to deal with his enemies, and he affirms that his trust is in the Lord and that he will not be afraid of mortal men. He mentions his tears and says that God has saved them in a wineskin, or a bottle, and that they are written down in God’s book, or scroll. David was saying that God cared about his grief and troubles; that He knew about them intimately and understood.
It appears that there was an ancient custom of the Romans and Greeks for the mourners at a funeral to have someone wipe their tears with a cloth and then squeeze them into a small bottle which would be buried along with the body. It seems a strange custom, but maybe those tears were regarded as proof of how much the dead person was loved.
We know Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus, that He was overwhelmed with sorrow in the Garden of Gethsemane and that He wept over Jerusalem. ‘And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it’ (Luke 19:41). He was crying tears for the sins and suffering of others. The prophets did the same as they delivered God’s message of impending judgement and doom. They were reflecting God’s heart. God weeps over His people and longs to restore them.
In the healing ministry we see many tears shed and we have boxes of tissues ready. There are tears of deep anguish, pain, disappointment and sorrow as people’s dreams for the future are smashed, relationships fall apart and Satan does his worst.
But there are tears that bring healing as the grief of the past is emptied out, creating a space for new life to enter, life from the Holy Spirit of God. And there are tears of relief and joy shed as darkness is dispelled and the light of God’s presence appears. We can share in these tears as we hear the testimony of God’s people being healed.
David says ‘You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?’ How comforting those words are to us as we receive them today in our darkest hour and realise others have gone through deep distress but their trust and faith in God has sustained them. David goes on to say ‘Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me (Psalm 56:9). God is for us. He’s on our side. He understands. He knows how many hairs we have on our head. He keeps account of every tear we shed. His heart is to restore every broken place in our lives.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly father, how encouraged I am to know that You love me so much that You care about every tear I’ve ever shed. You understand all my pain and sorrow and You want to bring Your comfort and healing to me. Help me to trust You and be confident that you are ‘for me’, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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