I Wonder If God Has a Tear Bottle

by Lieanne Lara

Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? – Psalm 56:8.

While surfing the internet to gather some ideas for sermonette for kids, I came across the story of the tear bottle. I had never heard of it and I never knew it has a very captivating history.

laraThe tear bottle tradition has historically been a mourning tradition. They were prevalent in ancient Rome and Egypt, when mourners would collect their tears and bury them with loved ones to show love and respect.

It reappeared during the Victorian period of the 19th century, when those mourning the loss of loved ones would collect their tears in bottles with special stoppers that allowed the tears to evaporate. When the tears had evaporated, the mourning period would end. In some American Civil War stories, women were said to have cried into tear bottles and saved them until their husbands returned from battle. Their collected tears would show the men how much they were adored and missed.

Out of curiosity, I’ve checked how it looks like. I found out that it is very symbolic and a bit profound. How ironic. It’s beautiful yet its purpose was a bit depressing. No matter how expensive or beautiful it is, it is still made to collect tears.

It became more interesting to me when I found out that tear bottle also appeared in the Bible when King David prayed to God, “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” Psalm 56:8. It was when he was being pursued by Saul on one side and surrounded by Philistines in the city of Goliath on the other. He asked God to remember his tears.

Like King David, there were times in my life that I prayed to God to remember my tears. Have you ever been in a situation when you didn’t know what to pray for? Many times here in Korea, I have found myself kneeling in prayer, broken-hearted and crying a puddle of tears while thinking about my family way back home. I’ve always been so worried about my brother who has been suffering from a blood related disease called ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura) for almost two years, and my 86-year old grandmother who was so weak because of many complications.

Tears are silent prayers, they said. I didn’t utter words but my burdens brought me to tears as I talked to God. I was so worried with my family especially with my grandparents. I wanted my grandmother’s suffering to end but I knew it would mean that my grandfather had to live alone. I couldn’t even imagine it for I witnessed how much he loved my grandmother.

I never realized I was worrying too much. I even thought of how God would answer my prayer. Then He showed me that He has His way in answering our prayers, and that would always be for the best, no matter how painful it is.

Early morning on the 18th of December 2013, the day after my grandmother was discharged from the hospital, my grandfather was found on their bed at peace. And since my grandmother was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, that saved her from the agony of losing a husband.

I went back to the Philippines and spent most of the time with my family especially with my grandmother. It took a few days for her to remember me again but I ‘m thankful to have spent time with her. After a week, I left with a heavy heart.

We were still grieving for the loss of our grandfather when my grandmother breathed her last several weeks later. I was alone when I heard the news and the only thing that I could do was to cry in prayer.

The Bible provides a lot of promises to comfort us when we are in pain. Yet when we are put into a tough situation, we still have the tendency to ask God why. We doubt, we fail to have the faith, we err, we stumble and sometimes, we fall. I am aware that God won’t give anything we can’t handle but like any other tasks, clinging into God’s promises is easier said than done. No matter how many Bible verses I know, it felt like they weren’t enough.

The only answer that God has given is Jesus. He reminded me the shortest in the entire Bible which says, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35). It says that when He saw Mary weeping for her brother who had died, he cried too. That is the same Jesus whom we believe. He completely understands the feeling of a brokenhearted.

I am amazed because of the peace and strength that God’s presence gives. No problem has the capacity to be insurmountable for Him. He is bigger than all the problems that can hit us, and we are not left alone to deal with them. When teardrops begin to fall, surely there must be angels also watching. And God would always send them to comfort the ones who are dear to Jesus’ heart.

King David’s prayer is a remarkable insight into the tender heart of our heavenly Father. He has a tear bottle. Maybe it’s not literal but it made me realize that our Lord sees every tear that falls as He looks from heaven’s portals. He knows each sorrow of our heart and is touched by the feelings of our infirmities. It is so comforting that when we cry, he cries with us. But it is even more comforting that one day, we will be together with Him and there will be no more tears.

I Must Pass the Test

by Shiela Corro

So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing shall flee away. –  Isaiah 51:11

sheilaAs I was giving a short spelling test for my students, I was wondering why they were smiling at me. Then I found out that most of them were cheating.

I believed that they cheated because they didn’t want to have a hard time studying and they wanted an easier life in answering the test and to pass it.

Like them, most of us want to have an easier, happier, enjoyable life here on earth, away from problems, hardships, and difficulties. But whether we like it or not, we do experience hardships and challenges. As Christians, we encounter different challenges: tests of our faith, relationships with other people, financial problems, illnesses, family problems, disasters, heartaches and many others.

The Lord didn’t tell us that when we obey his commandments and follow his will, we will have an easier life. Life is a constant test for all of us, a test to determine who are strong enough to handle a greater responsibility to rule the earth with God someday.

That’s the reason that we need to have a stronger faith as a shield and protection from all the trials in life. With our goal to live eternally with our Father in Heaven, we need to pass the tests of life. We need to build a strong foundation of our faith so that if adversaries come, we are still able to stand firmly with God.

Remember that we are not citizen’s here on earth for we are citizens of heaven. We must focus on heavenly things which cannot be seen with sinful human eyes. God has a better place for us. Place that has no evening, no pain, no tears and sorrows. There, we will enjoy the happiness more than we’ve ever dreamed.

In His Presence

by Rizamin Urbi

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.- Matthew 4:17

rizaDo you feel a different kind of excitement when you think of heaven? Is to be there the number one in your life’s list of goals? It is in mine and I hope it is in yours as well.

My co-workers in Christ, let us ponder heaven and think of all the good things we look forward to. Then let us decide on how we spend our days so that we can share to others the excitement about God’s love and promises. Most importantly, let us think of the Savior Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for all humanity. Heaven is one thing nobody should miss out on.

Heaven is the place where everything good you ever wish to happen would happen. But the best thing about it is to be with the One who loves us the most –our Savior and King.

Some people start a “relationship” with God with selfish motives. I did. We sometimes call His name only because of what He can give. But how wonderful, merciful and loving our Father is! Through the Holy Spirit, He can transform our selfish hearts. Slowly, He will open our eyes so we could see His unselfish, unconditional love for us. And as we begin to understand how much He loves us, we can’t help but praise Him and love Him even more. It then becomes our hearts’ desire to be with Him and spend time with Him for eternity.

As for me, I want to go to heaven so I can talk with God and spend all the time I have to know Him even more. I want to be in heaven so I can be in His presence because with Him, I’d want nothing more.