Tears in Heaven

Evening Devotion October 22 Psalm 56:8

Record my lament – list my tears on your scroll (put my tears in your wineskin) – are they not in your record?

David’s appeal to God follows his escape from Saul’s anger. He had been aided in his escape by Jonathan and had gone to Nob where he met with Ahimilech the priest. Here he had been given the consecrated bread to eat. Having been spotted by Saul’s servant, he was also given Goliath’s sword to protect himself and he then fled to Achish, king of Gath. But he was still afraid and pretended to be insane. Though he was never reconciled with Saul, God remained with him throughout and he was known as “a man after God’s own heart”.

The ancients kept lachrymatory bottles to catch the tears of sadness, particularly those wept at the death of a loved one. Most often these bottles were places into the grave with the body of the deceased. No-one knows the significance of these bottles and we can thus only speculate.

But the question is why God would want to keep such a record. O Lord, why would you keep my tears? What would you do with them? Why keep a record of my sadness?

And yet there is great comfort in knowing God’s intimate concern with my “down” times. When I am struggling, when it seems that everything around me is crashing down, when hope seems out of reach … God is still there. He is catching my tears – He doesn’t want them to go to waste!!!!

I am reminded of Eric Clapton’s song (Tears in Heaven) – written originally following his grandfather’s death but which came to mean so much to him following the 49 story plunge to death of his young son Conor in New York City. He recounts in his autobiography of how he coped with the support of the Alcoholics Anonymous group to which he belonged.  He had lost faith in God for a moment after Conor’s death but the unconditional love of those people carried him through. One time he was leading the group in a session on the 3rd of the 12 steps (handing your will over to the care of God) when he spoke about how, in confronting his alcoholism, he had fallen on his knees before God and asked to stay sober. He believed that the support which he had received from that group in the face of this tragedy was physical evidence that his prayers had been answered. And during that meeting he realised that there was no better way of honouring the memory of his son than by staying sober.

God, you keep the record of my sadness because you don’t want my tears to go to waste. Let me grow in my trust in you, knowing that you care enough to catch my tears in heaven.

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