“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

God collecting tears in a bottle is a powerful and emotionally intense image depicting the heart of God towards His own. It conquered my heart and warmed it, better than it conquered my mind for I doubted it. This is a literary exaggeration to point out a powerful truth. The image it creates in our minds and the imprint it leaves on our hearts is that of a God who is not detached from our tears.

If these bottles were personalized for each of God’s children, imagine what a gallery of bottles of tears God must have collected by now. My mind conjures a vision of the day I go to be with God. On my first day in heaven, God would give me a tour and show me where He kept my tears labeled thus: “Tears Shed in Ministry,” ‘”Tears Shed in Brokenness and Repentance,” “Tears Shed for Others,” “Tears Shed because of Trials and Pains” and many more.

Puffffff, my imagination ends here, but the reality of God’s compassion and interest in our tears shed in those crying moments on earth linger deep in my heart. This leaves me with a deep sense of hunger for God, and a heart-warming gratitude for the Lord’s grace, because my tears and yours matter to Him. Tears had warmed the cheeks of Jesus when He too, wept. I don’t find it difficult to believe such a collection of bottles of tears exists in heaven. Jesus Himself was so familiar with it when He once became one of us, seeing the pain of the fallen world, the hardening of the hearts of many, and feeling the joy of seeing a sinner repent. The Master knew the meaning of those tears.

Paul, Jeremiah, Job, and many others are so familiar with tears. Put your tears to good use now; for in heaven, there will be no more tears. Yes, we serve in gladness; yet, those glad moments are nourished by crying moments. The tears of the helpless, and tears of repentance and surrender are necessary ingredients for tears of joy and jubilee.

Remember what the psalmist said: “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Thank God for tears—we need it, we must not be ashamed of it, nor must we reduce it. It’s God’s gift and every drop matters to Him.

— This excerpt is taken from Moments of Grace written by Arnel C. Tan and published by OMF Literature Inc. To get the full devotional in print or digital format, please visit any OMF Lit and Passages Bookshop or go to www.passages.com.ph.