Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Bottled-up Tears - Martin Wiles

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

With a 6 ¼-ounce glass Coke bottle, he defrosted freezers.

With few exceptions, such as at grocery stores, my grandfather knew nothing about putting ice cream in freezers that didn’t need defrosting. The ice cream freezers his company donated to customers—or the ones the customers themselves owned—were not frost-free. Over time, chunks of ice accumulated on the sides, making it difficult to stock the boxes of ice cream in them neatly.

When the ice reached a certain level, my grandfather would look for an empty Coke crate in the store. These were the days when a person could return empty bottles for a small deposit of money. Store owners kept the empty crates after they put the bottles in the distributing machines.

My grandfather walked to the crate, picked up a small Coke bottle, and went to work, using the bottom of the bottle to knock the ice loose from the sides of the freezer. Within five minutes, he had defrosted the freezer and tossed the ice outside in the hot sun to melt.

Nothing like a good bottle. I remember when companies first put their soda products in aluminum cans. I hated it. It changed the entire taste of the product. Then came plastic bottles. This improved the taste a little, but nothing tastes like a soda—or any other drinkable liquid product—packaged in a bottle. The product also stays colder. Give me a bottle any day.

The psalmist enjoyed bottles too. Not for drinking, but because God bottled his tears in them. He had many sorrows during his lifetime—as most of us do. But God took note of them and bottled them up.

God does the same for anyone. He loves us with unconditional love and notices our life’s sorrows. Some tears He sends to mature us or to stretch our faith, but many come because we live in a sin-infested world where things break down and go awry.

But God does more than notice our sorrows. He bottles them, giving us the strength to endure each one, no matter how intense they are. By depending on the guidance of His Spirit, we discover the strength to put one foot in front of the other when we don’t think we can. We grieve, but we keep moving until things change—or until we accept our new norm.

Coke bottles eventually increased in size, and God’s bottle is large enough to handle all your tears. Put them in His bottle.

Prayer: Father, thank You for bottling our tears so we can move on with life.

Tweetable: Are your tears bottled up? 

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