“You have taken note of my journey through life, caught each of my tears in Your bottle …” Psalm 56:8a (VOICE)
“I can’t see what God’s doing right now,” she admitted as she stared at the pool of cold coffee sitting silent in the bottom of the mug she gripped. Tears began to free-fall down her cheeks, and I felt the weight of my friend’s honest words stab my own weary heart.
We’d been sharing the mess and marvel of our lives for years — marriage and children, work and worship. We’d seen answered prayers and flourishing faith, witnessed provision and heart change.
But we hadn’t seen this coming — this aching stretch of her journey.
We’d claimed God’s promises and believed in His might, yet lately, every step seemed to lead my friend deeper into a desert of disappointment.
There were unexplainable no’s where we’d begged for a yes, and devastating dead-ends where we’d pleaded for pleasant paths of peace.
And try as I might, I couldn’t offer easy answers in the midst of her wilderness wanderings.
“I don’t know what to do with all these tears …” my friend mumbled as she swatted at her seeping eyes.
I dug in my purse for a tissue.
Tear-catchers — that’s what my preschooler used to call those flimsy squares of softness.
“Mommy, could I have a tear-catcher?” she would say, as she pointed to the tissue box that sat on the kitchen counter.
And though we both knew a simple tissue couldn’t remedy the broken Barbie doll or the fight with her brother, the skinned knee or the ripped-up coloring page, I would reach for a tissue and squat low to hold my young one’s gaze.
Then my daughter would fall into my open arms and let me dab those drizzles of sadness as if my loving presence were the perfect balm for her aching heart.
I smiled at the memory and felt a sliver of hope rising.
I couldn’t salve my friend’s sorrow, but I could point her to the One who could.
I thought of the Psalm I’d read earlier that morning, the one I’d underlined with an inky blue streak right before I’d scribbled my friend’s name in the margin of my Bible and prayed for her in the dark before dawn.
And now, as we huddled in the corner of the coffee shop, I was grateful for the tender truth tucked in Psalm 56:8: “You have taken note of my journey through life …”
Even when we can’t see God’s plan, He sees our pain. He knows when our path grows bumpy; He notices when our feet stumble.
And not only does God see, more importantly, He refuses to flee.
[You have] “caught each of my tears in Your bottle …”
Think of it, friends —
The One who holds our hearts is willing to hold our tears.
The One who sits on high stoops low to share our sorrow.
The One who is timeless takes time to enter our angst.
Our faithful Father is the consummate Tear Catcher. And if, in our time of need, we run into His arms like a trusting child, we’ll discover His unflinching presence is a salve for our aching souls.
The Bible promises that one day God will wipe all the tears from our eyes. (Revelation 7:17b) But until then, we can count on Him to draw us close and catch them.
I stretched across the table and gave my friend’s hand a tender squeeze. “Maybe those tears are just reminding us to run to Jesus ...” I murmured with a jagged sigh.
My friend flashed me a grateful smile and dropped her eyes. “Will you pray?” she asked, her fingers squeezing mine.
I nodded and we leaned over those mugs of cold coffee in prayer. And together we reached our trustworthy Tear Catcher.
Dear Jesus, I admit I tend to doubt Your goodness during hard times. Help me to seek Your presence even when I can’t see what You’re doing. And comfort me with Your compassion as I trust You with my tears. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Revelation 7:17, “For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” (NLT)
Have you ever wondered, If God is good ... why am I hurting so badly?
Find hope in a sovereign God who has a purpose and is in control of everything — even when it hurts — with the next First 5 study, Suffering & Sovereignty
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What keeps you from turning to God when life turns hard?
Carve out some time to be with Jesus this week. Read His Word, listen to worship music or walk in nature. Make a deliberate choice to trust Him with your tears.
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