Tears In A Bottle

In moments of depression, you may believe you’re all alone. Who is there to see you while the tears flow..? How could someone see your tears, when those tears wait for opportune moments..? To spare you of the pity of those around..? They only flow when you’re all alone. In those lonely nights, you toss and turn and drench your bed in tears. But.. are you ever really alone..?

Life off late seems in my eyes like an unending journey through the Valley of Weeping. I can say with confidence that though things have seemingly gone downhill, His grace has upheld me in the joy of the Lord at most times. But I would be lying if I said that I have never been overwhelmed to the point of tears. Tears that come out of a suffering within, too deep to express in any other way….

And almost always these tears are shed in moments when there isn’t another soul in sight. But even when I feel alone in those moments, there is One who is present.. even if I fail to notice. One who does not fail to notice even a single drop of tear that is shed. In one of those moments of silent suffering, this verse from Psalm 56, spoke to my distressed soul….

You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?‭‭

Psalms‬ ‭56:8‬

But what about those tears that He sees..? Does He simply observe..? Is His heart filled with indifference..? When all seems lost and our eyes struggle to find a ray of light in the darkness, that could be how we see Him. But is God ever indifferent to our suffering..?

Through the Christ, God not only made an atonement for our sins, but through Him, God reveals His heart toward the children of man. Children who are loved without measure.

Jesus wept.

John 11:35

The shortest verse in the Bible, does a profound work in revealing the heart of God. When Jesus saw the tears of Martha and Mary and the people of Bethany, as they grieved the death of Lazarus, He wept. The Lord who knew that He was moments away from bringing Lazarus back to life, wept. The Lord who knew that this is the human suffering that He was to bring to an end, wept. The Lord knew, but still He wept. He wept, not because there was no future hope He could offer – for He Himself was and is our hope – but because He was deeply moved by the suffering and the tears of their present….

Does the Lord ever guarantee that our present will be free of suffering..? No. In fact, in John 16:33, He says that in the world we WILL face tribulations. No amount of religious living guarantees a life free of pain, in this life. But instead, He offers us something far far better. If we continue to look to our Lord for salvation, there is a future and there is a hope.

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.

Revelation 21:4

There is coming a day, when no more heartache shall come. Nor will there be any tear to dim the eye. The God who wept over the anguish of His children, didn’t stop with His tears, you see. He descended from His High estate, and took upon our earthly frame. He endured all the pain that we endure, as sojourners in this sin stained world. He endured even worse, as He took upon Himself the sins of all humankind and paid the price such sins demand, on our behalf, on the cross. All that He endured, He endured so that we could arrive at the gates of His Eternal Kingdom, where He could wipe away our tears, and tenderly tell us, “No more….”

Until then, as long as He feels it necessary that we walk through this Valley of Weeping, we can lean on Him for strength. If even for a moment our situations overwhelm us, we can rest in the fact that the God who wept over our suffering, never fails to notice even a single drop of tear. And He will never forget, for He has each one stored in a bottle….

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5


Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:34‬ ‭

Voice of Thanksgiving

Perspective. Adversity is one thing in life that enables us to see things in perspective. When we lose our health, we begin to realise how blessed we were just to be fully able. When we lose wealth that we were so accustomed to, we realise how rich we were once and how we may have never truly taken to putting it to best use. When we go through a time of deep depression, what wouldn’t we give to be able to taste a moment of peace in our soul, one more time..? Peace we once failed to even notice.

When people come out of a season of affliction, when all that was once lost is restored, life seems far more brighter than before, even if all that we have, is no more than what we once did. Take the life of Jonah, for instance. In Jonah 2, we read of his prayer to God from the belly of the fish. As he concludes, there is one line that captures my attention.

But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;

‭‭Jonah‬ ‭2:9‬

Making a sacrifice, in order to serve someone else, isn’t something which comes easy to us. Our desires tend to take us on our own way, and to let go of that desire and instead spend on another, what we believe is ours – whether it be money, energy or time – isn’t something we readily do. And even if we do, how many times would we find ourselves doing it with ‘the voice of thanksgiving..?’

And that wasn’t what Jonah found himself doing either. In fact, he wasn’t even willing to serve God, at the beginning of this tale, let alone with ‘the voice of thanksgiving.’ Jonah turned his back on God, when he was called to serve Him, by being His spokesman in Nineveh.

The storm. Being castaway. The fish. We know what followed and that Jonah eventually found himself standing on the shore, heading toward Nineveh. But somewhere in between, we find the heart of this man transformed from that of one who thought it a burden to serve God and fled His presence, to one who willed to serve Him with ‘the voice of thanksgiving.’

When I was a child, when I was told of the story of Jonah, I always believed that this was the tale of a lesser man. I mean, if God calls me to serve Him, I would readily walk the path where I am lead, I thought. ‘What was Jonah thinking..? He must’ve been one big fool to turn his back on God.’ But it’s only as I’ve grown in faith, could I see that the tale of Jonah isn’t the tale of a lesser man, but of a man much like me.

How many times, when God has called me to serve Him with what I have, have I chosen to flee His presence..? How many times have I thought that what I have, is mine to use for my own pleasures, and to use it in His service, is to waste. Perspective. The right one, wasn’t something I had.

In the belly of the fish, Jonah who was almost stripped of all that he had, including his life, had time for contemplation. With his heart desiring a second chance to rejoice in all that he previously had, Jonah could see that all that he had were never in his power to either take or hold, but were given to him from God above. Jonah’s heart was transformed, from someone who believed it wasn’t worth to serve God, to a man who could see how grateful he ought to be to be able to.

Perspective. Jonah gained this, through the adversity in his life. I pray, that it is something I will gain through the adversity in mine, to serve the Lord with a voice of thanksgiving….

The Hand With The Pen

How would your life look, if you had the pen that writes the lines of your life, in your hand..? If you had the chance to change the things that came within the sphere of your existence, would you have diligently chosen all that you’re living, or have lived out..?

Lines though keep getting written without us wielding the pen. Would we ever write lines of darkness..? Would we ever write lines of fear..? Would we ever write lines of pain..? But there are times, when all these are just the passage to something far more desirable. If I had it in my power, I would never have written those lines in the pages of my life. But I thank God, the pen isn’t in my hand….

There are times when the road to Paradise, takes you through a vale of Hell.

Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:16-18

Pleasant Again

She fled home with her family to escape a severe famine in the land. She became widowed as she lived among a strange people. She watched her sons die, leaving behind their widows, without a child to call their own. She was named Pleasantness – in her Hebrew tongue, the name was Naomi. After all that she had seen, who could have had the heart to contended with her when she cried, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara [Bitterness], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me”..?

Look at life through Naomi’s eyes for a minute. What do you see..? Do you see any sign of hope..? Till where the eye could see, even till the horizon.. I could see nothing that could possibly have given Naomi an incentive to take another step forward. There could have been times in that phase of her life when living seemed a pointless exercise. But even when life seemed vain, Naomi was in truth fulfilling an extraordinary purpose….

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬

Naomi though was oblivious to that extraordinary purpose. Could she have ever known that her widowed daughter-in-law – Ruth the Moabite – whom she was leading toward Judah, was a chosen vessel in the eyes of the Lord..? The woman whom God found worthy of honour above every woman in Judah in her time..? Through whom, over a millennium later, at the time appointed, the Messiah whom the people of Israel awaited, would be born..?

Or could Naomi have known that the restoration and the future that she so dearly did seek was never far from her..? When Naomi returned to Bethlehem from her tragic sojourn in Moab, she lamented, ‘I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty’. She must have considered Ruth’s presence in her life insignificant [though Naomi’s love for her could never be questioned] in light of all that she had lost. But we do know – through the Book of Ruth – how the script turned out, don’t we..? God didn’t bring Ruth to Bethlehem to remain a destitute. He exalted her in stature. And Ruth – who was once considered insignificant by Naomi – cared for her mother-in-law with such a love, that the Bible notes that she was ‘more to her than seven sons’.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:7

Though all these events were soon to take place, from where Naomi stood, the future was masked by the veil of time. Yet.. in the face of utter devastation and amidst the hopelessness, what did Naomi do..? In the simplest of terms, she did two things: kept living and kept loving….

Kept living..? Is that even worth mentioning..? Perhaps not for some of us. But for some, that may be a be a real challenge that we wake up with each day. The adversities may pull us down from time to time, but the worst is the ever present burden of a vacuum in our hearts where there should have been hope. To those of you I would say, JUST KEEP LIVING. The Lord who turned the bitter waters in the life of Naomi, pleasant again, and brought her out of the pit of hopelessness, can do the same with you.

And Naomi did keep the love burning bright, even in the darkest of times. There lies a challenge that is before each of us who are walking the hard road. How often do we allow the bitterness of our situations seep into our being, that we allow it to tarnish our relationships with the people around us. But Naomi could still empathize. She remained full of love and compassion. In her widowed daughter-in-laws, she saw two women who could still have a future, living far from her than with her, and she pleaded with them to leave. Imagine this.. Naomi was willing to face life all alone as an aged woman, if only her daughter in-laws could have a better future….

Our lives can at times seem to be taking us on an endless downward spiral.. sinking from one level of bitterness to the next. The search for a reason to live could seem as futile as can be, but from the life of Naomi, we can see that there is a world beyond the horizon. Our hope can come from places that we yet cannot see….

Until then, we need to ask ourselves, even as life seems like an aimless walk in a maze.. what beautiful plans are we unknowingly living out..? Who/what are the Ruth’s that God our Father has placed in our lives that we are oblivious to..? I pray to Him, that through quiet whispers He will remind you at your time of need: ‘Keep living. Keep loving.’ Trust Him – the God who makes bitter waters, pleasant again….

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

Be Still, My Soul

There are times we all go through when the days of life are as dark as night with stormy clouds hovering above. You know within that there is light above those menacing clouds, but you just can’t see the light with your eyes. There is a deep longing within you to see those clouds disappear. There is a hope that you’ll soon bathe in light but.. when..? Each passing day is another mighty wave thundering on the sides of the ship called Faith that you’re sailing on.

Though we may never fully understand why God chooses to let us traverse such days, we can trust that He will never leave us to face them alone. In the days that followed my mother’s passing, those clouds that hovered above my head were darker than ever before. But even in those darkest of times, His footsteps were ever present beside me. He provided comfort.. the extent of which I could not believe was possible.

One of the ways He reached out to comfort me.. to make His presence known, was through music. In particular from a certain YouTube channel named TheNCrew EliEli. One of their videos that deeply touched my troubled soul was Stephen Nasby’s version of the hymn ‘Be Still My Soul’. And that is what I wish to share with you today.

If you’re going through days where the clouds are dark and the wind and the waves are just too strong for you to bear, remember to tell yourself:

Be still, my soul;
The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them
While He dwelt below.

House of Bread

Sunday Quiz: Where was Jesus born..?

Well, that is an easy one, right..? You likely answered Bethlehem and you would be right. But.. I want to share a little bit of trivia about Bethlehem – the City of David.

When the Israelites gave names to people/places, they chose for a name a meaningful word/string of words in their own tongue – which is still a common practice in many cultures around the world. Naturally, names in the Bible carry more significance to the Hebrews than it does to us – people who do not speak/understand Hebrew. Consider this, every time people called out to Jesus by name in Judea, they would’ve been effectively calling Him as ‘God is Salvation’. See, the name to them meant more than the sound of the syllables in His name.

Now.. we can get back to Bethlehem. Bethlehem too must have a meaning, right..? Of course it does. The prefix ‘beth’ signifies ‘house’ in Hebrew. There are many names that begin as such – Bethel, Bethesda and Bethsaida come to mind – which all signify that they are a ‘house of’ something [or someone]. What is that something, here..? The second part of the word ‘lehem’ signifies bread in Hebrew. So.. Bethlehem put together becomes ‘House of Bread’.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger.”

John 6:35

Our Saviour spoke many amazing things. Amazing things like claiming to be the ‘Bread of Life’. And we do know from scriptures that the Saviour who claimed to be the ‘Bread of Life’ was born in a manger in the ‘House of Bread’. How mysteriously beautiful are His ways….

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