Monday Reflection – September 30, 2019
Tossings and Tears
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your record? Psalm 56:8
Tossings and tears are part of our journey at one stage in our lives or another. If we have lived long enough, we know that we experienced nights of toss and turns, restlessness, and even loss of sleep. Experiences in life have brought tears to our eyes and spirits as we face the ups and downs, the hills and valleys, the highpoints and low points of this journey. We have both tears of joy and those of sorrow. The loss of a loved one – whether by death, divorce or separation -, failures, anguish, fear, pain, hardships, trials, tribulations, stress and strains all threaten our happiness and joy and many times bring tossings and tears.
David can identify with us, for he had his fair share of tossings and tears. He faced lions, bears and Goliath with courage and strength. Indeed, he had a good heart, for he was described as a man after God’s own heart. He was anointed the next king of Israel, yet what was to be a time of celebration for him, became his greatest nightmare. The reigning king Saul hunted him down to kill him. Today’s text is said to be a description of David’s appeal to God as he headed to the cave in Adullam to hide for his life. No doubt, he was alone, desperate and afraid.
Here he reasons with and even challenges God. He draws to God’s attention that God knows fully well the level and number of tossings that he has had. Indeed, God should bottle up his tears to see how much he has shed. All his hurt and pain should be recorded by God. It is as if he was saying to God that he has been through so much and his pain is so deep that it’s time God relieves him of all of this. Yet, in all this we see David valuing the sympathy and care of God all the more, and he found great comfort in the thought that God noted his misery.
David speaks about bottling his tears. For Spurgeon, “His sorrows were so many that there would need a great wine–skin to hold them all.” Yet, there may be an allusion to a very ancient custom among Greeks and Romans of putting the tears which were shed for the death of any person into small phials and offering them on the tomb of the deceased. Thereare some persons who always have their tear-bottle with them, and who always treasure up every little grief and every little disappointment. Whenever you meet them, the first thing you see is the tear-bottle; and there is more in it than there was last time. Note that I am not speaking of those who have great trials and must shed tears, but of those who make a great deal of every little thing. We ought not to live in this gloomy way. In the midst of David’s trial, he affirms his confidence in God and declares in verse 9, “This I know, because God is for me”. His tossings and tears do not mean that God was against him. Instead he knew that God was for him, and would answer his prayer for rescue.
What of your tossings and tears? Surrender it all to God and rise in resolute confidence to face whatever life brings our way. Indeed, tears are a language God understands.