– Henry Ward Beecher
Kept in a Bottle
No tear is ever wasted. Each and every tear has a tale behind it. God values the tears we shed, and even the psalmist declares, “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book” (Psalm 56:8). I collect some things, and those things that are valuable I keep in a glass bottle so that they can be kept safe and I can still see them. Imagine God keeping every one of your tears and storing them in a bottle. Is this a metaphor or for real? I don’t know, but either way, it shows the tenderness of God’s heart for us.
Weeping for Others
I believe it is true: A joy shared is doubled, and a grief shared is halved (cut in half). That’s why Paul wrote, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15), because it gives them comfort, for clearly there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh” (Eccl. 3:4). We must remember that it is God “who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1:4). Therefore, we should feel compelled to weep with those who weep, to mourn with those who mourn and to comfort those who need comforted, as God has comforted us.
Wiped Away Forever
I remember as a young child having my grandmother wipe away my tears, but the problem was that they would come back again. She could wipe them away, but the next time I was hurt, the tears would flow again. God has a different solution, because one day “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). What God wipes away stays away. Why? It’s because all of the causes for our tears will be gone–pain, sorrow and mourning–and passed away forever in the coming kingdom! The thing is, our tears today give us hope for tomorrow that these too will disappear someday.
I believe Mr. Beecher is right. Our tears are often the telescope by which men and women see far into heaven because they are never wasted. They are shared with our brothers and sisters, and someday they’ll be gone and we’ll never shed another tear for all eternity. The only exception I could ever think of is that we still might experience tears of joy, but I can live with that.