I recently read an article which reminded me crying is not something to be ashamed of. Crying shows sorrow, and we definitely have many things we need to sorrow over. In Psalm 38:17-18, the psalmist says: “My sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.” We sorrow over sin, and we also sorrow in the trials God handpicks for us. Crying over these sorrows results in many, many tears. Tears running and running and running. Tears that are silent. Tears that we try to hide from others. Tears angry, bitter, burning. Tears that only show themselves once in a while. Tears appearing day after day. Tears that convey our sorrow.
Shedding these tears often takes a physical toll on us, and sometimes we wish we didn’t have to cry about things. But this is our plea to God: “Put Thou my tears into Thy bottle!”
This was the plea of David in Psalm 56. He was being oppressed by the Philistines in Gath, and it must have brought him to tears because he says in verses 8 and 9: “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.” The Psalter puts it this way in the fourth stanza of number 15: “Thou knowest all my woes, O treasure Thou my tears; are they not in Thy book, where all my life appears?” We ask God to collect our tears, to keep track of how many times we cry. And He does! Our Lord hears and sees every single tear that slides down our cheeks. He even sees the silent tears that never come out of our eyes, the ones that we try to keep in. God knows our sorrow.
How deep that is! God knows my sorrow. He collects my tears. My heavenly Father cares for me so much that He saves my tears in His bottle. He knows what I go through—the loss of loved ones, the everyday stress, the heartbreaks, the moments where it seems nothing goes right, the days when I know I can’t do it on my own, the sins I keep going back to—He knows it all. Because I am His creature, God knows every part of me that He has made. He put all of my tears in me in the first place, and so He knows when each tear escapes from my eyes.
Because God is so powerful and sovereign in everything He does, He designed our tears for a very special purpose: to allow us to show our sorrow. Our Father requires of us that we confess our sins, repent of them, and show our sorrow for them. Therefore, when our tears spill over in sorrow, God knows we are truly sorry for those sins. He treasures those tears because they show Him that we are His weak children who need Him every moment of every day. He keeps our tears in His bottle to remember that we have repented and been redeemed by the blood of Christ. Psalm 9:12 says this plainly— “When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.” God does not forget our tears…He treasures them forever.
The next time you find yourself shedding tears, remember God collects every one of those tears and finds them precious in His eyes. What a comfort!