Tears in a Bottle


I Know what it feels like to wander aimlessly through a purposeless life. I know all about tossing and turning in bed, trying to find a comfortable position, trying to erase the worries from my mind, trying to calm my heart. I know that if I had saved my tears over the years, I would have filled a tear bottle.

In the Bible, there is a beautiful Psalm that begins with fear of the writer’s enemies who apparently fight against him daily. He believes they will “swallow him up” and ends that passage with these words:

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil. They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul. Shall they escape by iniquity? In thine anger cast down the people, O God.

And then the psalmist writes the most beautiful passage of all when he says to God, “You know my wandering. You know how I toss in my bed every night. And you put my tears in a bottle. So I put my trust in you, and will not be afraid what my enemies can do to me. You, O God, have delivered my soul from death. Will you also deliver my feet from falling that I may walk before you in the land of the living.”

Although I often wander aimlessly, although I know about tossing and turning in bed, trying to erase the worries from my mind. I know I have filled up a tear bottle over the years.

But I also have faith in God, and to God, I pray this prayer:

God of my Sorrow;

You have heard the fall of my tears.

God of compassion, Caress my deepest fears and embrace my heart.

You have known of my tossings in the night, of my wanderings.

You have caught my tears in your bottle of grief.

In your book you have recorded the longings of my soul.

When I cry out to you, O God of my life;

When I long for signs of your grace;

When my sin cries out for mercy; I will trust in you.

And I will not be afraid when evil assails,

Nor in darkness will I hide my face.

A Prayer based on Psalm 56

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