Thursday, February 21, 2013

God collects our tears

This is for Rhonda who lost her dear husband; and for Ella, Isaac, Paul, Lily, Gloria, and little Anna, who lost their dear Papa in a plane crash last evening.

God's Word is full of so many beautiful metaphors. And with God, being so great and awesome as He is, some of them are probably not metaphors so much as a mere human image of His goodness and compassion.

It's hard to see that goodness and compassion when something terrible happens. And so we must turn to, and cling to, those images of His goodness in the Bible. Our human words of comfort and peace will be hollow and empty, due to the intensity of your pain. And even God's Words will sometimes feel void. But at core They are foundational. And real. And They will sustain you in the deepest parts of yourself, even when you can't see or feel or think the comfort They contain.
Psalm 56

Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up;
Fighting all day he oppresses me.
My enemies would hound me all day,
For there are many who fight against me, O Most High.
First the psalmist acknowledges our enemies. On this earth, they are sometimes physical enemies. But more often they are spiritual and emotional enemies of our own weakness, and the temptations of the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh. They assault us on all sides. Our pain, heartache, doubts, fears, confusions, worries.
Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me?
The psalmist continues with an affirmation of trust in God. This world is temporal. Our human flesh, the ways of this world, they have no eternal power over us. God is bigger then are they. "In God I have put my trust. I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?"
All day they twist my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
They gather together,
They hide, they mark my steps,
When they lie in wait for my life.
Shall they escape by iniquity?
In anger cast down the peoples, O God!
Another paragraph about our many enemies follows. Again, not always a physical enemy. The imagery here reminds me of how we chase ourselves around in our brain sometimes, filled with the doubts and frustrations and pains of this life.
You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.
In God (I will praise His word),
In the Lord (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
Now the psalmist once again turns to God and His goodness. Just think about this a minute, "You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?" God knows all our weaknesses, all our enemies, every doubt and confusion. He knows our every tear; yes, He even has a bottle for them.  He records them in His book.  Even when we are so broken in every physical and emotional way that we risk breaking spiritually too, even then God is with us. He sustains us with His eternal comfort and Fatherly goodness.
Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God;
I will render praises to You,
For You have delivered my soul from death.
Have You not kept my feet from falling,
That I may walk before God
In the light of the living?
And a final paragraph, acknowledging our trust in God's promises, and in the ultimate promise of eternal life with Him. "You have delivered my soul from death...that I may walk before God in the Light of the living."

Rhonda and family, your Adam is walking before God in the Light of the living.  Amazing!  And so very sad for you who are still walking here on this earth.  God be with you at this time.

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