by Dan Vander Ark
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Does God care about your problems?
There’s a very interesting verse in the middle of Psalm 56 that indicates that He does, and in a much closer and more passionate way than you and I may think. Psalm 56:8 says this, “Thou hast taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Thy bottle; are they not in Thy book?”
This Psalm is a recounting by King David of a very stressful time in his life when he had been wrongly accused and found himself to be a fugitive in his own country (remember the TV series and the movie remake “The Fugitive” in which Dr. Richard Kimble was wrongly accused of murdering his wife and had to flee for his life?). David was innocent and was trying to stay one step ahead of the “Law” (King Saul). He was fleeing for his life and even sought shelter in remote caves.
Afterward, when David thought about what he had gone through, he wrote, “Thou hast taken account of my wanderings…” The New Living Translation puts it this way, “You keep track of all my sorrows.” And the version of the Bible called The Message puts it this way, “You've kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights.” You (God) are profoundly concerned about me as I am driven from one place to another. Adam Clarke paraphrases it this way, “I am hunted everywhere; but You number all my hiding-places, and see how often I am in danger of losing my life.”
Then David continues in this verse by making this remarkable statement, “Put my tears in Thy bottle, are they not in Thy book?” The New Living Translation says, “You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” And The Message says this, “Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.”
What was David referring to and what did he mean when he said, “You put my tears in Your bottle?”
To best describe what this portion of verse 8 is saying let me quote from a commentary called Barnes Notes. Albert Barnes says this, “It is possible, and, indeed, it seems probable, that there is an allusion here to the custom of collecting tears shed in a time of calamity and sorrow, and preserving them in a small bottle or "lachrymatory" as a memorial of the grief. (A “lachrymatory” was a very small bottle, like a perfume bottle, sometimes made out of simple clay and sometimes made out of agate or other precious stone.) The Romans had a custom, that in a time of mourning (for instance, on a funeral occasion) a friend went to one in sorrow, and wiped away the tears from the eyes with a piece of cloth, and squeezed the tears into a small bottle of glass or earth, which was carefully preserved as a memorial of friendship and sorrow…these lachrymatories are still found in great numbers on opening ancient tombs. A sepulchre lately discovered in one of the gardens of our city had scores of them in it. They are made of thin glass, or more generally of simple pottery, often not even baked or glazed, with a slender body, a broad bottom, and a funnel-shaped top. They have nothing in them but dust at present.”
So to sum up this short passage, when David had time to reflect about that period in his life when he was literally one step ahead of death, he said essentially this, “God you care so deeply for me that You literally have taken account of every single one of my tears. And you not only notice them, but you also treasure them up Your divine Tear Bottle and record them in Your book!”
God notices, treasures, and records your tears!
There is a verse in Revelation that amplifies this astonishing love and care. The last part of Revelation 7:17 says this, “…God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Does God care about your problems? The answer is absolutely YES!
You may at times feel like you are being hounded and harassed by problem after problem. Or maybe your heart has been broken through the loss of a loved one. Or it may seem that there is no way out of your financial predicament. Or perhaps you are having difficulty in your marriage or other family relationships.
God cares for you!
There is a God that notes every single one of your tears. Pour out your heart before Him today, take all of your cares and concerns to Him and watch Him answer in remarkable ways.
Dan Vander Ark
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