When my oldest sister died of cancer in 2021, I found hope in knowing that Jesus holds my tears. I needed that hope because I cried. A lot. I hadn’t seen her since before the pandemic. It had been my plan to visit her nine days after the day she died. I didn’t get that chance.
Jesus Holds Your Tears in a Bottle
I have cried many tears in my life. If you have never cried, you can stop reading right now. But if you have shed tears for yourself or for others, take heart. God knows the tears you have shed. Psalm 56:8 says so. Here are several translations of that wonderful verse:
Record my lament;
list my tears on your scroll —
are they not in your record? (NIV)
You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle
Are they not in Your book? (NASB)
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. (NLT)
Write down my poem of sadness.
List my tears on your scroll.
Aren’t you making a record of them? (NIRV)
The image of God keeping all my tears in a bottle comforts me. I envision an enormous bottle, accompanied by an endless scroll documenting every tear and lament. My tears are there and so are yours. Each one remembered by Jesus.
God Sees Your Tears of Hopelessness
Today tears are being shed around the world in:
- homeless camps where people long for safety and a place to belong.
- dark basements where sex trafficked children are exploited.
- seemingly happy homes where domestic violence is kept a secret.
- the bedrooms of teenagers suffering from depression at a higher rate than ever before.
- churches and funeral parlors where the loss of loved ones is mourned.
- homes where people are spiritually lost and have no hope.
We live in a fallen world. Tragedies happen and humans are not always kind to one another. It is hard to fathom God collecting every single tear, but He does. He notices and He records each tear and each lament.
The Tears of Jesus Bring Hope
God has collected every tear in His bottle. And mingled with yours and mine are the tears of Jesus. In John 11, the apostle records this event: “Jesus wept.” John 11:35.
In this passage, Jesus weeps when He learns of the death of Lazarus. When they see Him weeping, the people say “See how he loved him!” John 11:36. But I don’t think Jesus was weeping because Lazarus was dead—He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. Rather, I believe He wept because of the compassion He felt for humanity as we weep over our own tragedies and losses. It is us that He loved so much that it brought Him to tears. Jesus holds your tears with His own.
The Psalms Reveal Hope and Redeeming Love
So if you weep today, remember that God is collecting your tears in His bottle, and mixing them with the tears of our dear Savior. Not only that, but God will deliver you from the trials that lead to tears. Throughout the Psalms, we find hope and God’s redeeming love for us.
For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
Psalm 116:8–9 (NIV)
Hold on to hope and Jesus holds your tears in the palm of His loving hand. I have found much peace, even on days when loss and suffering seem never-ending.
When my oldest sister died, it reminded me of my middle sister, who also lost her battle with cancer eight years earlier. When I think about it today, I am reminded of my dear niece, my oldest sister’s daughter, who was taken from this world too young because of colon cancer last January.
So many tears. . .
Jesus holds them all.
Closing Prayer on Tears
Heavenly Father, You keep our tears in Your bottle. What a comforting thought. I pray, Lord, for those reading this who feel their tears will never end. Hold them, Jesus, just has You hold their tears mingled with Your own. Bring peace and hope to each reader today in the midst of their suffering. In Jesus’ name, amen.