Tears in a Bottle


I WAS LISTENING TO SOME MUSIC THE OTHER DAY AND I WAS SURPRISED AT HOW MANY SONGS ARE ABOUT TEARS AND CRYING “BLUE EYES CRYING IN THE RAIN”  I’M SO LONESOME I COULD CRY, LONELY TEARDROPS, TEARS ON MY PILLOW.” AND  MANY, MANY MORE.

WHY IS THAT? WELL I THINK ONE REASON IS THAT SHEDDING TEARS IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF OUR LIVES. LIKE THE COMEDIAN SAID, “IF BROKEN HEARTS WERE COMMERCIALS, WE’D ALL BE ON TV.”

KING DAVID WAS A MAN WHO SHED MANY TEARS. IN  PS 56 WE FIND HIM ANGRY, EXHAUSTED AND DEEPLY DISCOURAGED.  LISTEN TO HIS WORDS IN V8 AS HE  POURS OUT HIS HEART TO GOD ,

“YOU KEEP TRACK OF ALL MY SORROWS.
YOU HAVE COLLECTED ALL MY TEARS IN YOUR BOTTLE
YOU HAVE RECORDED EACH ONE IN YOUR BOOK.”
PSALM 56:8 (NLT)

I CAN PICTURE DAVID SOBBING AS HE WROTE THESE WORDS WITH  TEARS FLOWING DOWN HIS CHEEKS. DAVID WASN’T EMBARRASSED OR AFRAID TO CRY AND HERE HE IS PAINTING A BEAUTIFUL IMAGE OF A TENDER HEARTED GOD WHO IS INTIMATELY AWARE OF OUR PAIN AND SORROWS AND STRUGGLES. HE TALKS  DIRECTLY TO GOD AND SAYS “YOU – YOU KEEP TRACK OF ALL  MY SORROWS. YOU HAVE COLLECTED ALL MY TEARS…” “I CANT BELIEVE THAT YOU – MY LORD MY GOD– YOU PUT ALL MY TEARS IN YOUR BOTTLE – I DON’T PUT THEM THERE – BUT YOU DO AND THEY ARE MY TEARS. NOT EVERYONE IN GENERAL -BUT MY TEARS.”

THIS IS SO PERSONAL. DAVID COULDN’T BELIEVE GOD LOVED HIM SO INTIMATELY, SO PERSONALLY AND THAT HIS TEARS  WERE SO  IMPORTANT  TO GOD THAT GOD COLLECTS THEM LIKE SOMEONE WHO COLLECTS PRECIOUS AND FRAGRANT OIL AND BOTTLES IT FOR SAFE KEEPING.

WHEN HIS CLOSE FRIEND LAZARUS DIED WHAT DID JC DO? DID HE JUST BYPASS THE TEARS OF MARTHA AND MARY AND TELL THEM TO GET ON WITH THEIR LIVES, GET OVER IT AND JUST TRUST. I ONCE HEARD OF AN 8-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO WAS STANDING  SOBBING AT THE GRAVE OF HER MOTHER. HER AUNT GOT SO ANGRY WITH HER THAT SHE SLAPPED HER FACE AND SHOUTED “CHRISTIANS DON’T CRY.” THAT IS NOT TRUE!

IN THE SHORTEST VERSE IN THE  BIBLE WE READ JESUS WEPT. I CAN JUST PICTURE HIM SITTING  BETWEEN MARY AND MARTHA, PUTTING AN ARM AROUND EACH ONE, AND SOBBING WITH THEM. JESUS WAS HUMAN JUST LIKE US – IN EVERY WAY. HE WAS SO HUMAN THAT HE CRIED. LATER HE WEPT OVER JERUSALM WITH GREAT HEAVING SOBS. GOD KNOWS HOW TO CRY. GOD KNOWS ABOUT GRIEF. HE KNOWS AND FEELS YOUR PAIN. AND HIS TEARS GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO SHED YOUR OWN. ITS OK TO CRY. SO GRIEVE, BUT THE ENCOURAGING TRUTH IS YOU DON’T GRIEVE ALONE.  

YOU SEE HE DIED FOR OUR SINS BUT HE ALSO DIED FOR EVERYTHING THAT SIN HAS DONE TO US. HE TOOK TO HIMSELF OUR PAIN AND  GRIEF AND MADE THEM HIS. HE INVITES US TO BRING OUR HURTS TO HIM. HE IS OUR BURDEN BEARER. HE IS OUR PAIN TAKER. HE IS THE HEALER OF BROKEN HEARTS – HE IS OUR BOTTLE.  AND HE TAKES OUR TEARS AND TURNS THEM AROUND AND IN HIS WAY AND IN HIS TIME TRANSFORMS THEM.  PETER WEPT BITTERLY BUT RETURNED TO GREATER POWER THAN EVER. I KNOW OF A GUY WHO EXPERIENCED GREAT SADNESS WHEN HIS SON WAS ILL. HE SAID HE HAD ALWAYS BEEN QUITE A HARD PERSON WITH LITTLE EMPATHY OR COMPASSION FOR OTHERS BUT DURING HIS SON’S ILLNESS HE HAD CRIED TEARS LIKE NEVER BEFORE AND AFTERWARDS HE WAS A DIFFERENT PERSON – A KINDER MORE COMPASSIONATE PERSON.  

YOU KNOW ITS INTERESTING THAT THE BOTTLE DAVID WAS REFERRING TO WAS NOT LIKE A BOTTLE WE MIGHT IMAGINE –LIKE A COKE BOTTLE – BUT MOST LIKELY A WINESKIN. WHICH WAS USED TO CARRY WINE. AND WINE IS MADE BY CRUSHING GRAPES. MAYBE WINE IS THE TEARS OF THE GRAPES! AND ITS ALSO INTERESTING THAT JESUS FIRST MIRACLE WAS TURNING, TRANSFORMING WATER INTO WINE. IS THERE A MESSAGE OF REDEMPTION IN THAT STORY. I THINK SO. HENRI J.M. NOUWEN:  “WHEN WE ARE CRUSHED LIKE GRAPES, WE CANNOT THINK OF THE WINE WE WILL BECOME.” SOMEONE ELSE SAID; “ GRAPES MUST BE CRUSHED TO MAKE WINE. WHENEVER YOU FEEL CRUSHED, YOU’RE IN A POWERFUL PLACE OF TRANSFORMATION AND TRANSMUTATION. TRUST THE PROCESS.” YOU SEE, GOD TAKES OUR FAILURES OUR SINS OUR TEARS AND WEAVES THEM TOGETHER FOR HIS GOOD.

WE CAN LEARN A LESSON ABOUT PRAYER FROM DAVID. THAT IS OPEN UP. DON’T HOLD BACK FROM GOD. TELL HIM WHAT YOU THINK. HE IS SITTING SO CLOSE TO YOU THAT HE CAN CATCH YOUR TEARS  LIKE A MOTHER SITTING BESIDE HER CHILD’S SICKBED. HE IS THERE IN THE SILENCE WHEN WE CRY LONELY TEARS. REST INTO THAT AND YOU WILL FIND THE STRENGTH YOU NEED.  

ONE DAY ALL THE PAIN AND SUFFERING IN OUR LIVES AND  AROUND US WILL END. KEEP CLOSE TO GOD IN THESE UNCERTAIN TIMES AND NEVER FORGET THAT WE ARE LOVED BY THE GOD WHO COUNTS AND KEEPS OUR TEARS, WHO TURNS THEM INTO WINE, AND WHO — ONE DAY — WILL WIPE THEM ALL AWAY.

PRAYER
FATHER, THANK YOU THAT YOU FEEL OUR SORROWS AND OUR TEARS THROUGH YOUR SON, JESUS, AND THANK YOU TOO FOR THE HOPE THAT WE HAVE NOW IN JC AND IN THE FUTURE       AMEN

SO UNTIL NEXT TIME, THIS IS GG

This article is generously submitted by GG to whom we are indebted for sharing his God-given wisdom and encouragement. 

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

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Mission Malawi – Chapter Eleven


Why not start at the beginning of this amazing series……..

South Africa
26th January 1995 – 29th May 1995

We had planned a break to S.A. and Zimbabwe for six weeks, during January 1995, so we were quite amazed when it turned out to be so long. In our last newsletter we shared about the challenges with the Combi and how wonderful it was to see the various parts arriving from South Africa to try and get us on the road.
“….We finally left for Zimbabwe on 26th Jan. On nearing the border of Mozambique (after finally getting visas, which is another whole story!), the power in the Combi began to fade. There was a terrible feeling in my stomach. As the situation worsened, I was freewheeling the down hills to try and make it to the Zimbabwe border where Kathy’s parents had offered to meet us.

Continue reading “Mission Malawi – Chapter Eleven”

Mission Malawi – Chapter Ten


Field Trip – Continued:

Tuesday, 15th November.

We were shown to continue our trip the next morning and as we were preparing to leave, one of the committee members at the church came to greet us. She made a presentation of K50.00 to us on behalf of the church. 

 Deeply touched, we gratefully received the gift. To us, the amount of money held no importance because we knew that God had a purpose for that money. What was wonderful was that the people had given freely to complete strangers and we know that God will bless them for that step of faith .

 As we began to walk out of the town we saw the house of a Pastor whom we had met the night before. We felt that he had so warmly welcomed us, that it would be very bad of us not to bid him farewell. During the course of sharing with him, he blessed us with K20.00, and on the way out his wife gave us another K5.00 to buy bananas. God is truly wonderful, and even plans our menus for us if we listen carefully!

 We received a lift to a small place called Nkhamenya, where the driver insisted we pay him K20.00. This we did and were soon picked up again by a very large transporter truck. This truck was on the way to Tanzania and the driver told us that we were very “lucky” because he never stops for people.

 We explained to the Tanzanian driver in our best Swahili (which is nonexistent, but sign language for ‘God’ is universal!), that it was the Lord who had touched his heart to stop for us. We shared in this manner for a while and after giving us a ‘coke’ to drink they stopped the truck on top of the Vipya Plateau to share their lunch with us.  Lunch was prepared and served underneath the large trailer of the truck as we sat on the tarmac. Looking out over the baking African valley below, God’s awesome power was very evident.  As mere humans, we are absolutely nothing compared to His great and mighty power, yet His love for us is so great. How were we to know that we would be having lunch under such circumstances.

 The driver dropped us off in Mzuzu without charging us any money. This is a miracle, because in Malawi many white tourists hitchhike throughout the country and because the country is poor, drivers of vehicles, private or company owned, are looking for an extra means of income. Especially where a white person is concerned because they are perceived as being “rich”.

 Consequently, those who saw us together presumed that I was a wealthy tourist with my personal guide! Nevertheless, God knew the truth and watched lovingly over us day and night. That night we were welcomed at the house of another Reverend. His family cared for us, fulfilling our needs so that we were able to continue our trip refreshed early the next day.

Wednesday, 16th November.

Our first stop the next morning was the post office. It was my son’s birthday in four days’ time and I was sad at the thought of not being with him. Titus and I had prayed the day we started the journey that God might give us funds to buy an envelope and stamp so that we could send my son a note of encouragement. God understands our family relationships. He saw my love for my son, and being a Father Himself, had blessed us with the money the day before so that I could send a little letter to him. After posting the letter we waited for the next part of our journey.

 A hardware company truck gave us a lift to Rhumpie, a small town under the Nyika Plateau. As we descended the weather became very hot. We had no shade in the back of the truck. The truck stopped in the middle of the dusty little town, and we duly paid another K20.00 for transport. It was midday.

 On our way in we noticed a small church and decided to see if we could find anyone home. The Pastors wife greeted us and sent for her husband. After drinking many glasses of water and explaining ourselves, the Pastor literally ran out to go and call the members of the community together. He insisted that I rest on a canvas deck chair in the shade of the church building. He said, “I know mzungus (white people) like to rest after lunch”. I did not have much trouble obeying him, after all, he was an elder of the local church and I as a visitor, must fall under his authority!

 Most of the rural Malawians are a bit apprehensive about hosting white people because of language and cultural problems. God had taught me through Titus and other precious Malawian brothers and sisters, how to adapt to many of the customs and foods. As I conformed, the people were made to feel more at ease with me and again there was testimony in our words by God’s grace alone.

 I really began to understand that the “authority” which has been given to us through Christ Jesus is not some ‘mystical’ power, but is in fact, the lifestyle we lead. It was said of Jesus, “…He was teaching them as one having authority…”. Demons were afraid of Jesus because they knew He was ‘dead’ to the things of the ‘flesh’ and He would not give in to their temptations.  We too, as we begin to live a laid down life, (dying to the things of a ‘selfish life’), will show the authority of Christ through us. That is why it was important that God’s son was in every way a man, so that we might have an example to follow.

 A group of ladies gathered and we were able to share some precious things concerning their marriages and their roles as wives. All were extremely blessed and stayed for over two hours in the heat. As we started to finish, the men began arriving after work, so the ministry continued until evening. They were all amazed to see that I would actually bath in their traditional way and enjoy the food. The heat remained until about 9:30pm when we finally finished ministering, exhausted, but mightily blessed.

This is a series from the journal of young missionaries and written by ‘…time with the Master…’ A portion of the journal is published bi- monthly. Why not take up the journey from Chapter One.

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).