In Luke 8:51–52 Jesus approaches a crowd mourning the death of a twelve-year-old girl. His words to them may seem strange considering that they had good reason to be upset.
But He said, "Stop crying" (v. 52).
In Luke 7:13 He says the exact same words to a momma whose only son had died. She sure had reason to cry. Her situation was exceptionally hopeless. And yet …
"He said, ‘Don’t cry.’"
When we tell someone not to cry, it’s usually because we are uncomfortable with their emotions or because we think they’re overreacting. But when Jesus told people not to cry, it was because He had a plan to do something about their pain. He had the power to dry up their tears.
The crowd who was mourning the death of the young girl? Just a few minutes later they received the amazing news that Jesus had raised her back to life. The widow who was burying her only son? She saw Jesus raise him from the dead with her very own eyes.
In both cases Jesus said "don’t cry" because He was about to take the pain away.
But I bet there are things you’ve had to bury that Jesus has not raised back to life. I am sure there are situations that make you cry where it seems like Jesus has not intervened. It may feel like there’s no reason to stop crying over the things that cause you pain.
I get that. I do.
I’ve got junk in my own life that makes me cry. There are times when I cannot hold back the tears. When that happens, I tend to wonder where my miracle is. Does Jesus even see my tears?
It was in that state recently that I stumbled across this verse.
You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book? (Ps. 56:8).
Where is God when my tears start to flow? He’s keeping a tally of what makes me toss and turn. He’s collecting my tears in a bottle. He is recording them in a book.
In other words … He sees me. The things that keep me up at night don’t fly under His radar. He keeps a record of the junk that causes me pain.
And just what will He do with those tallies? What’s His plan for a bottle full of tears with my name on it? What’s the use of a book full of tears?
Revelation 21:4 gives the answer.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
I believe He is collecting my tears in a bottle because one day He will pour the bottle out and refill it with joy. He may not say "don’t cry" to me every time I am sad now, but a day is coming when He will, because He does have a plan to set all things right. It’s a promise that we can hold on tightly to whenever the tears start to flow.
What makes you cry these days?
What kind of tears is your bottle full of? Angry tears? Disappointed tears? Wounded tears? Shameful tears? Worried tears?
God sees them all. In fact, He keeps them in His collection, because one day He will look you in the eye and say, "Don’t cry." And when He does it will mean He’s dried up your tears—for good.
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! (Ps. 126:5).