"You keep track record of all my sorrows. You have collected my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." -- Psalm 56:8 NLT
PSALM 56:8 written by David in the most chaotic and fearful moment in his life. Running from Saul and being captured by the Philistines. It's a personal pandemic to David that led him to write this psalm. It is so remarkable that we don't just get to know the writer of this Psalm as he reveals his vulnerabilities, we come to get to know His God!
Psalm 56:3 reveals David facing his fear without being fake, Psalm 56:8 we see that our tears matter to God! God collects them and puts them into bottles and records them in His journal. Amazing God! Those drops of liquid are not only designed to lubricate the eyes and express emotions, they are an unspoken language God understands.
Someone said "when words fail, tears flow" and in many ways tears convey a load of many things more than just words. No wonder when we cry, we feel relieved almost instantaneously. Those tears are not just spontaneously released; somehow, it's something that we need to learn? Not through a lecture or seminar, but by drawing close to the One who takes interest on it. While those precious tears are in abundance they cannot be easily manipulated to flow. I still don't understand why we need to apologize when we "accidentally' cry in public. Perhaps in is seen as a weakness that violates social sensitivities. David knew His Shepherd well that he freely let go of those drops often.
Those tears are not really available in heaven. God will wipe all of it. I guess we need to make the most of its use here on earth, in this long journey of faith in God. Learning to speak in tears is not a tongue issue it's a heart issue. This is not an easy language to learn. Our coach here is life itself, assisted by the raw realities that happen to us every day. I have a feeling that when we don't or won't freely cry before God it somehow hardens our hearts slowly, until we can't shed any of those anymore! One more thing, tears from the heart cannot be coerce from outside. It is also not a credible standard of a person's spirituality yet there is something empty inside us when those tears don't flow anymore.
Let us prayerfully learn how to speak to God in tears again. Is it required to do so? Not really, but it's really a relief to do so. It makes you human, allows you and me to deal with many things that words can't express and only tears can. Your tears matter to God! Don't sanitize it and don't use it to manipulate others, just shed it to God! Learn to speak in tears and get to know the God who also wept!
Let's learn some timely and timeless spiritual insights from psalm 56:8 and prayerfully ask God to restore it if you somehow left it out in your life somewhere. Let us humbly learn to speak in tears again, and be grateful to God who collects them. If God collects them, I also think God labeled them? Before God wipes your tears in heaven, I wonder, how many bottles of those liquids God collected from my eyes and yours? Before we go deeper, it is not our intention to judge people who can't easily cry; rather it's our desire to know the God who is into collecting tears. So, learn and don't compare nor perform, or pressure others into tears. But by all means this speaking in tears is worth learning.
"You keep track of all my sorrows"
In other translations, sorrow is also translated into the word "wanderings." What we are seeing here is that David knows His Shepherd really close! Not only in good times but especially in really messy times. No inhibitions, no apology needed for shedding tears before a God who is so interested in you and me! Even in crying God respects our freedom, something God can't command like putting off your shoes for you are standing on a Holy ground. God waits, until those tears freely flow. It's not only an expression of sorrows; it is also admission of our wanderings. By wanderings I mean those times where we live independently from our Shepherd. When we are so attached to our success or the pursuit of our dreams that we have wandered from what really matters the most. God kept track of all of our wanderings, and our aloneness in life. That's why David is a crier! Because David knows that God knows.
The Good Shepherd may allow his sheep to wander a long way, but he will soon intervene because He can't allow you and me to wander all the way. Learn the lesson by heart, God keeps track of our wanderings, He is very interested in how you FEEL! This gives me a special peace in my heart to know that I am not the one tracking myself or others. When people close to me choose to go the other direction away from God, I shed tears of pain and yet of hope. Knowing God is a diligent tracker of prodigals. And after all our wanderings and suffering all the hard consequences along with it, those tears flow again. God seems to say I took note of that even before they fell from your eyes and mine. Learn this, be grateful for tears and prayerfully use them again to speak before Abba.