Psalm 56: God, the Tear Catcher

 January 22, 2019

God, the tear catcher! Another image of God from Scripture. There are many images of God found in the Bible, including father, mother, spirit, way, truth, light, gate, gatekeeper, lion, eagle, mother hen, shepherd. The list goes on. Now, thanks to Psalm 56, I have another image for God, the tear catcher.

Psalm 56

Psalm 56 is a lament. The writer is under assault by those who would harm him. He states, “Be gracious to me, O God, for men trample upon me; all day long foemen oppress me; my enemies trample upon me all day long, for many fight against me proudly.” (1-2) “All day long they seek to injure my cause; all their thoughts are against me for evil. They band themselves together, they lurk, they watch my steps.” (5-6)

His enemies are seeking his life. “As they have waited for my life, so recompense them for their crime,” (6b-7a) he pleads.

These concerns keep him tossing and turning throughout the night, yet the psalmist remains convinced of God’s care, who not only keeps a record of his sleepless nights, but counts all of his tears. “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle! Are they not in your book!” (8) Our God knows all of our trials; God keeps track.

God, the Tear Catcher

What a wonderful image of God collecting all of our tears in a bottle where they may be safely preserved. Not a tear is lost. In Isaiah and again in Revelations, we are reminded that, “The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces.” (Is 25:8, Rev. 7:17, 21:4) Our God is not uncaring, watching people from afar, but actively involved in people’s lives. God not only counts every hair on our head (Mt. 10:30, Lk 12:7), he catches every tear. He knows our sorrow and pain, our anger and frustration.

How precious in the eyes of the Lord are the tears of God’s people! God catches everyone.

Psalm 56 ends with a confident assertion of trust in the Lord, In God I trust without a fear. What can man do to me?” (11) Following the lament format, he makes a vow to God, “My vows to you I must perform, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” (13)

Trust in God during Sleepless Nights

Chances are you are not being beset by those who would kill you, but all of us have experienced sleepless nights filled with tears. Psalm 56 offers words of comfort.

When we can’t sleep, give it all to God who not only counts every hair on our head, but every tear. Rather than brood over whatever is keeping you awake, wasting time trying to solve all the problems of the world, turn to prayer. It works better than counting sheep. Even if we fail to fall asleep, we will have used the time well, and God, the tear catcher, will remember.

What keeps you awake at night? What does it mean to say God is the tear catcher? Are their other images of God that you find comforting when tossing and turning during the night?

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This post is part of a series of blog posts on the Psalms. Sign up to follow this blog and and receive a free copy of  Still Dancingthe second book in my Dancing through Life Series.      click here to sign up

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