“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” ~Psalm 56:8 (NLT)
The hardest things to endure in life are the things that pierce us, scar us forever and yes, agonizingly hurt us to the core of our very being. These things usually bring forth an abundance of tears and much remorse as a result of our suffering. What is an awesome fact is that our faithful Father collects all of our tears…yes, every single one. None are lost and not one tear is cried in vain. God also understands the language of our tears…that language with meaning which no words can convey.
I can identify with Beth Moore when she says, “If it’s out there, it’s either happened to me or it’s touched my life in some way.” Yes, like Beth, some things just happened to me and some things I, myself, caused to happen. The latter would be a hard pill to swallow outside of genuine repentance and forgiveness in the light of our Father’s amazing grace and mercy. It is also difficult to understand that the bad as well as the good has molded us into the very person we are today. If some of our experiences had not happened, we may not have chosen God. Does it ever boggle your mind that God knows the things that will happen to you before they actually happen? It’s a hard truth to grasp, yet He knew and He knows.
Then comes the inevitable question, “Why?”
Why was I molested as a child?
Why was I forbidden to follow God’s calling?
Why did I rebel and marry thinking it was an escape?
Why was I a bad example before my children?
Why have I married and divorced multiple times?
Why did I allow the world to influence my life?
Why did I fall in love with a married man?
Why did I continue to make wrong choices and in the process, hurt others?
Why did family members and close friends have to die?
After jumping off the worldly merry-go-round…tossed, bruised, broken, scarred and bowing before Jesus at the foot of the cross in genuine repentance…
Why was I then victimized by spousal drunken abuse, verbal abuse, extra-marital affairs, pornography and sexually transmitted disease?
Why? Why? Why?
Sometimes the simple answer is that we have sinned and fallen and in retrospect, we stand in disbelief that we were capable of making such wrong choices. Yes, that answer is born of Satan and horribly simple. We separated our self from God. Sometimes we cannot see the answer so clearly though, because we are walking with God. In this case, rest assured, God is bringing us through something to bless us on the other side.
As I contemplate the things that have caused me so many tears and such deep personal pain, there are still many things that others have endured which do not even compare. For example, I still cannot compare my pain to that of starving children, or to Corrie Ten Boom’s devastating life experiences. I cannot compare my pain to that which my husband endured when accidentally dropping a firearm and having it discharge on the ground resulting in his dad’s death. I cannot compare my pain to that of my brother and sister-in-law who lost their son during the summer before his senior year in high school. His mother was the school's secretary and she watched her son’s class parade through their last year’s events up to and including graduation. No, I cannot compare my pain to a parent losing their child. I have cried many tears with and for family and friends who have lost children; but still, I cannot and do not KNOW the depth of their personal and individual hurts. I feel helpless wanting to provide comfort and peace to those hurting so deeply. My prayers, my hugs, my tears, my words all seem so inadequate when compared to their anguish and suffering…yet I know that my Father knows every hurt and collects every tear. He has allowed pain and suffering in our lives so that we may turn to Him, choose Him, lean on Him, exemplify Him, grow in Him and provide that same comfort to others which He has bestowed on us.
“God comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” ~II Corinthians 1:4
We can also read in the Bible about Joseph’s life and had we been him, we would probably have asked “Why, Why, Why?” As we read, though, we can identify with Joseph and know that God was and is in total control despite how things often seem to us. The very ones who sold Joseph into slavery were suddenly at his mercy as he became the second highest ruler over the Egyptian kingdom. He wasn’t bitter. Instead, he recognized God’s hand throughout the course of his life and testified:
“Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” ~Genesis 50:19-21
Some may find it difficult to comprehend but even though God does not condone our sin or the sins of others which are inflicted upon us, He will use them in His master plan for His Kingdom’s work. He never wishes hurt and pain for us but He does know the road we will travel and He wants to bring us through it for His purpose. In His divine process, He is constantly growing us in His likeness. It is difficult sometimes, but just as Joseph reminded, we would be wise to remember that often times Satan means to harm us but the Lord will prevail and use it for our good. Yes, Jesus has suffered all our hurts…every fall…and He is collecting all of our many heartfelt tears.
Oh Father God, thank you for sending Your own Son to suffer and die for us. Thank you, Father, for KNOWING each one of our individual hurts, for UNDERSTANDING our deepest pain and for COLLECTING every tear that we shed. Thank you, Father, that Jesus rose again and then sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us so that we may grow in His likeness. He took all my sins, Father. He knew me...my name, my thoughts, my tears and He's always heard me when I called on Him. He was always thinking of me. May we always walk with You, praise You, honor You, serve You and worship You forevermore…for You alone, Father, are worthy of our all. Amen.
Captured in His reflection,