Monday, October 24, 2011

Psalm 56:8

You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
(Psalm 56:8 ESV)

One of my favorite verses ever! I know that if you don't have an ESV, it might not read that way (I know that the NIV doesn't say that) but I personally think that this is the most beautiful way this verse can be translated. It clearly shows us that God cares for us, and He will never let our "foot strike a stone" (Psalm 91:12). What better promise than this?
There is a footnote on "tossings" that doesn't show when I copy and paste: an alternate translation. "wanderings." Either one is a "correct" translation, but I think rather than choosing one, we should take in the complete translation of the word. He keeps count of our troubles, He keeps watch over us, every time we are upset. But He also sees our wanderings, He sees when we fall away from Him. He is still watching us, He is still keeping us safe, and He is still giving us mercy and keeping His eyes on us even when our eyes are turned away from Him! Praise the LORD, for He is merciful...the God "of all comfort." (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Then, one of my favorite lines in the Bible: God has "put my tears in [His] bottle," and they are "in [His] book." It reminds me of the verse in Lamentations 3, verse 33, "for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men." Or as my Bible says, "for he does not willingly afflict the children of men." (same translation, just one is a later version.) Does that not comfort you? He puts your tears in His bottle. He knows every tear you have ever cried, when you were in trials and when you felt far from Him. Each tear is recorded in His book, and each tear that someone has caused you will be repaid. God knows and remembers ever tear you have ever cried, and He is faithful to comfort you in your pain. "For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." (Psalm 30:5 ESV). God never leaves us in the darkness forever. Always remember that whatever pain you experience, He does not do from his heart: He does it because He loves you and wants to draw you closer to Him in the process. For He is strong in our weakness. "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh." (2 Corinthians 4:7-11 ESV). Finally, I'll just finish with this verse from one of my favorite Bible chapters: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4 ESV).

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