“You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
I’ve cried my share of tears in my quarter of a century life. There have been a lot of things I’ve cried about. Some were trivial. Some were earth shattering. This past Sunday, in Sunday School, we read this passage of scripture and it just spoke to my soul.
Six years ago this November, I said goodbye to my Daddy because of cancer. Oh, how I cried. How our whole family cried. One of the hardest things about watching somebody die is watching them suffer. I watched my dad suffer and I hated it. There was absolutely nothing that I could do other than pray and ask God to heal him here or give him a new body. I’ll never forget one of the nurses on the 10th floor of St. Joseph’s Hospital explained to my mom and me that what Daddy was going through was similar to Jesus’ death, because the fluid in his lungs was causing him to suffocate.
Wow. Jesus did that willingly for me? Beside the fact that he had nails in his hands and his feet and a crown of thorns on his head…he suffocated for me? He sufferred for me.
Can we even imagine how scared and sad Mary must have felt watching her own son die in front of her very eyes? For what? Why was this happening?
Those thoughts have run through so many of our minds as we have faced suffering and watched others suffer. For what? Why? It’s hard to say during the actual event. But, once you go through something this earth shattering, you have to know that there is a reason you witnessed such an event.
I believe the reason for our tears is to build our trust in our great God. Job said it well, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” That’s a tough bite to chew, but it’s truth in which we can sink our teeth.
We are guaranteed in scripture that we will face trials of many kinds. James tells us to, “Consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds, because we know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it’s work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1: 2-4)
Not lacking anything… If we’re not lacking anything, what does that mean? That means we are perfect. But we’re only human, right? Well, no, not if we are redeemed by the precious blood of the lamb. We are being sanctified in this world and will be made perfect in the next.
If we want to be more like him…you know, not lacking anything…we choose to share in his sufferings.
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith- that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:7-11)
This doesn’t mean that we go hang ourselves on a cross and hope that we’ll raise from the dead. Jesus already did that for us. This means we put our own fears and hopes aside and completely immerse ourselves in Christ through trust…even if it means having our world turned upside down.
How does this all tie together in my mind? Well, when my dad was suffering so badly, a song that he learned early in his Christian journey just seemed to roll right off of his lips.
“You said you’d come and share all my sorrows. You said you’d be there for all my tomorrows. I came so close to sending me away. But just like you promised, you came here to stay. I just had to pray. And Jesus said,”Come to the water, stand by my side. I know you are thirsty. You won’t be denied. I felt every tear drop, when in darkness you cried. And I strove to remind you, that for those tears I died.’ Your goodness so great, I can’t understand it. And dear Lord, I know that all this was planned. I know you’re here now and always will be. You’ve loosened my chains and in you I’m free. But Jesus , why me? And Jesus said,”Come to the water, stand by my side. I know you are thirsty. You won’t be denied. I felt every tear drop, when in darkness you cried. And I strove to remind you, that for those tears I died.’ Jesus, I give you my heart and my soul. I know now, without God, I’d never be whole. Savior, you’ve opened all the right doors. And I thank you and praise you from earth’s humble shores. Take me I’m yours.”
That song sums up salvation, folks. It was for those tears He died. He has put them in his bottle! He cares about those tears. When you didn’t know what was going to happen and you felt so alone, He was right there waiting for you to call out to Him so that He could show you great and mighty things. He wanted to tell you to not be afraid, but to trust Him, because He would get you to the other side and He would wipe away every tear.
Christ has conquered the grave…our greatest enemy. “When I am afraid I will trust in Him (Psalm 56:3). Why? Because, I can rest easy knowing that, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
Whatever you are going through, take hope that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. This life is not it. There is more. I pray that your hope and trust will be built on nothing else except for Jesus’ Blood and righteousness.