Sometimes you read a verse that you never before recall seeing, like this one:
You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book? Psalm 56:8
I like how the Message interprets this verse:
You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn
through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in your ledger,
each ache written in your book.
Just yesterday a situation brought me to tears. And I woke up at 5 AM, tossing and turning.
There’s almost always something that leads me to worry, something that leaves me in tears.
How amazing that my God cares enough to pay attention to every toss, every tear. He’s not sitting back while I suffer. He’s not disinterested. While God doesn’t always intervene – OFTEN doesn’t intervene – to remove the source of pain, He watches and He counts and He cares.
The best answer I ever heard about why God allows pain and suffering in this world goes something like this: We don’t really know (and most of the logical reasons people give aren’t theologically satisfying, anyway).
But we DO know this: It isn’t because God doesn’t care. What’s the evidence that God cares? He didn’t stay up in heaven and watch us suffer. No. He entered the suffering. He tossed and turned and shed tears as He faced his death while praying in Gethsemane.
He didn’t remove Himself from our pain. He entered our pain and experienced it Himself. Precisely because He does care.
God doesn’t remove the source of pain, but His work on the Cross means one day that all suffering and pain and death and tears will be removed – when He establishes his forever kingdom.
Meantime, He counts my tossings and bottles my tears.
What a caring God.
Dear Jesus: I am amazed that you pay attention to my little worries, my little pains – nothing compared to what you endured for me, because of me. Thank you that you care so much. And help me to remember this when I’m in the middle of the tossing and the sadness – so that I can recall your concern, and feel your loving presence. Amen.
PS. I started this blog with the following, but felt I had to lead with what I wrote above, so read on for a few more thoughts:
It’s amazing how often a Psalm I’ve read in my One Year Bible brings to mind a praise song or hymn I once sang.
Here’s one my children and I listened to from a Steve Green album. “When I am afraid” is taken straight from Psalm 56:
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me? vs. 3-4
Sometimes it’s hard to get my head around all the talk of enemies in the Psalms, but even if we don’t have physical enemies out to get us (like King David), we all experience fear.
What I love is that we don’t have to fear anything: “Perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4: 18 God can remove our fears, especially when we trust his promises in Scripture (the word).