“You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your record?”
— Psalm 56:8 (NRSV)
We may wonder what is truly of personal value in the eternal realm. We ought to wonder if what we value in this life lines up with what God values in the next life. And if we are given to many tears, we may ask, legitimately so, what may become of them; what legacy is there for our anguish?
How might there be reward for suffering? Our faith holds us steadier when we imagine God crowning us in glory with rewards of abundance so glorious we cannot fathom them either here or there.
We may wonder, as God saves up our ‘tears in a bottle’ what that receptacle might look like. Is it like a parent keeping a collage of a child’s artwork on the refrigerator door, before they carefully scrapbook it for a prosperity? Or perhaps God is collecting these tears, all our notes of resignation, and all our meek overtures of submission of spirit, so his Spirit would have its way. Tears have about them something beyond the denial of anger. Tears represent a soul crushed by their circumstance; where truth broke past anger.
Maybe each tear, and each resonance of distress, has its own DNA, and together God is making a grand potion for our eternal healing. Could it be that God has written this scroll containing all our deeds and misdeeds, all our ecstasies and pains, and is saving it for that day when we make our approach and enter the gates of Zion?
THE PURPOSE OF SUCH A HOPE
God is a thoroughly good God.
For this reason, needing no other reason, we have faith in a Blessed Hope: Jesus. Our Lord, Saviour and King is making for us our eternal home, even if that destination is eternal and unchangeable — where time has become eternally irrelevant. Having such a hope gratifies our nature toward the living of life here and now. It’s not far away. Indeed, it may be a moment away.
With such a hope we have reason to endure the hardships, trials, sorrows, and persecutions; we can endure them with a curious and regal ardour. Curiosity for meaning in heaven — given that God is a good God and won’t have us suffer needlessly.
Such a hope will never disappoint us, though some would laugh at us for such a hope. But these people would not laugh if they saw what hope does; what it truly does. It is the elixir for life. Hope propels us forward in an inextricable joy. Many who are honest will envy that joy, and God is preparing the question on their heart: “Please explain the hope and joy in you… even in your suffering… it makes no sense to me… but it seems real, and really inspiring.”
Every grating pain, every silent tear, and every groaning whimper; God has a record of every one of these notations of faithfulness that caused us to bear up whilst not giving up.
When we believe in the hope beyond the hardships we endure, we have meaning and purpose for life even in grief. Even when life can seem so sadistically cruel we have faith sufficient to keep going, and that’s nothing short of inspiring. Such faith can never be wrong. God is with us.
© 2013, 2016 Steve Wickham.