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Sermon 7/11/04
Tears – Psalm 56:8

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You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?” (Psalm 56:8)

There was a recent article in the “Daily Guideposts” by Linda Neukrug (July 2, 2004) about the tears of her mother.  The author was embarrassed by those tears, even to the point of not allowing friends to visit her house as a teenager for fear her mother might cry during the visit, over something like a TV show.

Linda said: “It was bad enough that my mother cried in private, but it was even more embarrassing that she cried in public – at weddings, at people getting off a plane and hugging (‘For heaven’s sake, Ma, the flight’s only coming in from Toledo!’)”.  They had ducked into City Hall during a rainstorm and saw a casually dressed bride and groom.  Linda commented, “They (the bride and groom) were laughing,” but “Ma was crying.”

She said to her mother: “Oh for goodness sake, you’re more emotional about their wedding than they are!”  The mother’s reply was: “They’re so young; you’ll understand when you get older.

The author did get older and attended another wedding with her mother.  Here’s her report: “Three weeks ago I went to the wedding of some twenty-something-year-old friends of mine. To my amazement, as the clergyman began saying, ‘to love and to cherish,’ I felt a warm tear trickling down my face. By the time he got to ‘till death do you part,’ I was crying openly. And do you know what? It felt good to experience my emotions. I lightly tapped my mother on the shoulder and whispered, ‘Ma, do you have an extra hankie?’

The author has a Scripture about her transition from someone embarrassed by emotions to a person who actually FEELS for others.  It is Psalm 107:35 – “He turnethdry ground into watersprings.”  God will change emotionless, indifferent, easily embarrassed beings into people who really CARE.  Her prayer is this: “God, just for today, let me not be ashamed of my heartfelt emotions, but rejoice in them.

Our Scripture is Psalms 56, written by David, the king, politician, writer, musician, prophet and shepherd-boy of Israel, who FELT so much and took his feelings to God – Often.  His feelings went up-and-down with great regularity, for he was depressed one minute and elated the next.  Psalm 56 starts out, “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” (Psalm 56:1-2).  David was afraid and he knew depression first hand.  He ALWAYS had experiences that were too much for him.

He also knew how to deal with his fears and we can learn much from his words, written 3000 years ago.  David continued, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).  As we all should, David took his fears to God.

Have you ever been in a store and witnessed a small child walking hand-in-hand with a grandparent, talking constantly and excitedly to the older person?  The child is telling the grandparent – EVERYTHING!  We ARE that child, you and me.  The secret of prayer is that God LISTENS, He CARES, and if we’re smart, we will tell Him – Everything!

David was a poet, which means he wrote from the heart, rather than merely from an intellectual perspective.  We have two sides to our brains and God created both of them.  Our “modern” civilization has little patience with feelings, which we tend to avoid.  Decisions “must” be made on the basis of intellect and logic, and we are suspicious of “emotional” people.  Many times we pretend even to ourselves that we don’t have emotions because we don’t want to be embarrassed.  That’s one hemisphere of our brains, but there is another side of you which experiences emotions – Deeply!

David said, “You (God) number my wanderings” (Psalm 56:8).  God KNOWS everything about you.  Like the parent or grandparent looking intently at the small child as they walk through the store, absorbing the child’s every word, God is LISTENING to you.  He cares DEEPLY, even for those who have, so far, rejected His love.

He KNOWS what you have done and He knows what you are thinking of doing.  He is aware of it when you are hurt and He CARES about what is happening to you.

What does the loving parent do in relation to the life of the child?  That parent TREASURES the memories of the child, often placing physical remembrances into something like a scrapbook for them.  That’s the imagery we see in Psalm 56:8, where David calls out to the Lord, “Put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?

God KNOWS when you cry in the night and ache in your heart.  He KNOWS and He CARES what happens to you.  That’s what the cross is all about.  He has communicated through the cross that He UNDERSTANDS what has happened in your life and He CARES so much that He did something about it!  He DIED for you.

He spoke this through the prophet Isaiah: “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5).  He KNOWS our need and He has indeed acted on our behalf.  We are SAVED from our transgressions, from our sorrows, when we TRUST in God through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and receive what He has already done for you and me.

Do you feel HURT, deep inside?  On Thursday mornings, I teach a Bible study in Psalms to a group of mostly elderly persons in a convalescent home.  They no longer have homes, cars and in many cases their family and friends are gone.  That hurts, but as David noted, God knows their situation and yours.  He counts all your tears and He loves you.

Father, You know my “wanderings,” my fears, the hurt inside, and You know that I have tended to be unfeeling toward others.  Thank You for listening, caring and for Your love.  Thank You for helping me to care.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
Tel: (562) 688-5559
PO Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)


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