The Worship of Tears

“Lips that have tasted the salt of tears always give the sweetest kiss.”

(Thoughts on Luke 7)

Reading Psalm 56:8 this morning it says, “You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” God collects all our tears ever shed and places them in a bottle, yes! In seeking to offer hope to the hurting the psalmist reminds those with a broken heart that God Himself is very near to them. That’s important to know on days when you are suffering a broken heart and you are blinded by the tears. It’s easy in those moments to feel completely alone and yet the Word of God states plainly in Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted” and Psalm 147:3 goes on to say, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

I’m not sure if you know this or not but each of our stories was written for God to restore them. Thats what God does. He redeems and He restores. Like any deep wound the healing process usually takes longer than what we anticipated and is far more painful than we were prepared for at the moment and why the tears so easily flow. The psalmist understands and offers a healing balm reminding us that our tears are never lost on God but instead they are gathered bottled up. If you have ever struggled with understanding God’s love and care for you try to imagine the most painful moment of your life where you are completely broken and the tears are pouring out. Then, imagine God stooping down and collecting every tear from your eye. You might be thinking, why would God catch our tears? In a word, worship. Our tears are a form of worship to God. What words could never fully communicate, tears capture beautifully and just like the golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints we read about in Revelation 5:8, our tears speak volumes with regard to our story of redemption. How you might be thinking? God never wastes a hurt.

In ancient Hebrew culture it wasn’t a strange thing for a woman to catch her tears in a bottle. Both tears of gladness as well as sorrow were collected and preserved in a glass bottle and presented to her husband on their wedding day. This glass bottle of tears collected over her lifetime were given as a gift to her bridegroom as if to say, “all that I am, and all that I have, I give to you.” This bottle of tears beautifully illustrated to her husband, “everything in my heart now belongs to you.” Upon acceptance of the gift of this bottle of tears the bridegroom was communicating to his bride, “I will hold your heart more tenderly than I do my own", and just as important, "Your heart will always be safe with me." Yes, loved one, God is near to the broken hearted and He promises to bind up our wounds.

At the culmination of human history we are told in the book of Revelation (Revelation 21:1-7) that Jesus Himself will once and for all wipe away every tear from our eyes. There will no longer be a need for tears in heaven, at least not the type of tears that are associated with our hurts and pain here on earth. Yes, loved one, there is coming a day when Jesus will separate us once and for all from all of our past sorrows as He has promised to make all things new!  God is going to restore everything back to how it was even before fall of Adam and Eve, including me and you! Until that day, we are invited, even encouraged to let the tears flow. We do well to keep in mind the words of Dr. Earl Grollman who penned, “Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.” Oh, the worship of tears! Let them flow, let them flow, let them flow!

“Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.”

Luke 7:44  


Michael Osthimer





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