Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tear Bottle

Psalm 56:8
"You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?"

I think this verse has to be one of the most comforting verses in the Bible. The creator of the universe takes notice of all our tears. Even when we feel like no one knows our hurts and our pain, He does and keeps record.

I did not realize until I did a little research on this verse that throughout history people have used “tear bottles” to capture and keep their tears? I just looked and you can even purchase tear bottles on Ebay (is there nothing that you can’t find on EBay?) Also, is an interesting website that detail the history of the tear bottle. The following is from this website:

Tear bottles were fairly common in Roman times, around the time of Christ, when mourners filled small glass bottles or cups with tears and placed them in burial tombs as symbols of respect. Sometimes women were even paid to cry into these vessels, as they walked along the mourning procession. Those crying the loudest and producing the most tears received the most compensation, or so the legend goes. The more anguish and tears produced, the more important and valued the deceased person was perceived to be.

Tear bottles reappeared during the Victorian period of the 19th century, when those mourning the loss of loved ones would collect their tears in bottles with special stoppers that allowed the tears to evaporate. When the tears had evaporated, the mourning period would end.

In some American Civil War stories, women were said to have cried into tear bottles and saved them until their husbands returned from battle. Their collected tears would show the men how much they were adored and missed.

All this leads me to a question. If you had carried a tear bottle with you for your entire life, how deep would the collection of your tears be? At this point in your life, would your tears be too heavy to even carry. To me, one of the beautiful points to Psalms 56:8 is that He puts your tears in HIS bottle. We don’t have to lug our tears throughout this life- He takes them!
And one glorious day, there will never be a tear shed again:

Revelation 7:17
For the lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of water; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Join us for more “Tuesday Together in the Word” posts at DeeDee’s site. Please join us this week as we read and discuss Hebrews 7-12, Proverbs 14 and Psalms 58-59.

Blessings to You,

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Running Away From Home

Proverbs 13:24
He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

This “Tuesday Together in the Word” verse reminded me of a conversation between my son and me that happened when he was only three years old after he received a spanking:

Him (standing in my hallway with his hand on his hip and looking me square in the eyes): I know why I receive so many spankings.

Me (hopeful that he was finally learning): Why is that?

Him: Because I need better parents.

Then, he announced he was running away from home to find better parents.

I cried.

I have no idea where he gets his hard headedness - maybe from his Mom. That conversation really reminds me of how I have been with the Lord at times. He has brought things into my life for my own good but instead of learning from the situations I have doubted His love for me at times and tried to run away.

Years ago I heard the following illustration by James Dobson of the Lord’s great love for us during trials. It has really spoken to me at low times in my life and I just had to share it with you today:

A Father’s Love

An incident occurred during our son’s early childhood that illustrated for me this profound love of the heavenly Father. Ryan had a terrible ear infection when he was three years old that kept him (and us) awake most of the night. Shirley bundled up the toddler the next morning and took him to see the pediatrician. This doctor was an older man with very little patience for squirming kids. He wasn’t overly fond of parents, either.

After examining Ryan, the doctor told Shirley that the infection had adhered itself to the eardrum and could only be treated by pulling the scab loose with a wicked little instrument. He warned that the procedure would hurt and instructed Shirley to hold her son tightly on the table. Not only did this news alarm her, but enough of it was understood by Ryan to send him into orbit. (It didn’t take much to do that in those days.) Shirley did the best she could. She put Ryan on the examining table and attempted to hold him down. But he would have none of it. When the doctor inserted the pick-like instrument in his ear, the child broke loose and screamed to high heaven. The pediatrician then became angry at Shirley and told her if she couldn’t follow instructions she’d have to go get her husband. I was in the neighborhood and quickly came to the examining room. After hearing what was needed, I swallowed hard and wrapped my 200-pound, six-foot-two-inch frame around the toddler.
It was one of the toughest moments in my career as a parent.

What made it so emotional was the long mirror Ryan was facing as he lay on the examining table. This made it possible for him to look directly at me as he screamed for mercy. I really believe I was in greater agony in that moment than my terrified little boy. It was too much. I turned him loose—and got a beefed-up version of the same bawling-out Shirley had received a few minutes earlier.

Finally, however, the grouchy pediatrician and I finished the task.

I reflected later on what I was feeling when Ryan was going through so much suffering.

What hurt me was the look on his face. Though he was screaming and couldn’t speak, he was “talking” to me with those big blue eyes. He was saying, “Daddy! Why are you doing this to me? I thought you loved me. I never thought you would do anything like this! How could you? Please, please! Stop hurting me!” It was impossible to explain to Ryan that his suffering was necessary for his own good—that I was trying help him—that it was love that required me to hold him on the table. How could I tell him of my compassion in that moment? I would gladly have taken his place on the table, if possible. But in his immature mind, I was a traitor who had callously abandoned him.

Then I realized there must be times when God also feels our intense pain and suffers along with us. Wouldn’t that be characteristic of a Father whose love is infinite? How He must hurt when we say in confusion,“How could You do this terrible thing, Lord? Why me? I thought I could trust You!I thought You were my friend!” How can He make us understand, with our human limitations,that our agony is necessary—
that it does have a purpose—that there are answers to the tragedies of life? I wonder if He anticipates the day when He can make us understand what was occurring in our time of trial. I wonder if He broods over our sorrows.

Some readers might doubt that an omnipotent God with no weaknesses and no needs is vulnerable to this kind of vicarious suffering. No one can be certain. We do know that Jesus experienced the broad range of human emotions and that He told Philip, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Remember that Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” when Mary wept over Lazarus. He also wept as He looked over the city of Jerusalem and spoke of the sorrow that would soon come upon the Jewish people. It seems logical to assume,therefore, that God the Father is passionately concerned about His human “family” and shares our grief in those unspeakable moments “when sorrows like sea billows roll.” I believe He does.

Please visit DeeDee to read more “Tuesday Together in the Word”. Join us next week as we read through Hebrews 1-7 and Psalms 56-57.

Blessings to You!