Monday, March 28, 2016

Bottled Up - Martin Wiles

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. Psalm 56:8 NLT

They cuddle on the cabinet, snuggle on the shelf, and frolic on the floor, but none are doing what they were originally designed to do. 

Old bottles are one of my passions. I don’t go out of my way to find or collect them, but when I come across one at a decent price, I snatch it up. Many in my collection were given to me by people who saw no purpose in having them, and others I’ve bought at discount prices from store owners who didn’t know their true worth. They range from soda bottles to medicine bottles and everything in between. But they all have one thing in common: they’re empty. 

None of my bottles are filled with their original contents, nor are they presently being used for their initial purpose. The beauty is now in their historical significance and the unique designs and raised markings they display. I could bottle them up with something—water if nothing more, but they still wouldn’t fulfill their earliest purpose. They serve merely as reminders.

The psalmist was discouraged. Enemy troops were tracking him, slanderers were stalking him, spies were spying on him, and his emotions were raging. Appealing to God helped calm his nerves. He reminded himself that God took notice of his situation and could bottle up his fears, disappointments, and sorrows. 

Whatever was originally stored in my bottles could be uncorked or uncapped and poured down the recipient’s throat. Pleasure or relief from pain resulted. God can take sorrow, discouragement, and disappointment and bottle them up. But He seals them so tightly no one can release them again. 

Life can be overwhelming. Sin taints the world so thoroughly that the results of it are bound to touch my life repeatedly until I die. A range of emotions result when they do. Emotions that can lead me in unhealthy directions unless I remember God hasn’t abandoned me. When I feel overcome with peace destroying emotions and thoughts, I look at my empty bottles and ask God to do what the psalmist did—bottle them up. Seal them tightly. Cork them completely. And then I ask Him to help me to see clearly what I can glean from the confined contents. 

Are you feeling overwhelmed by life? Ask God to bottle up the things that baffle you. 

Prayer: Father, we thank You that we can come to You with our petitions and pains and count on You to bottle them up so we can live with peace and purpose.

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