Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tears in a Bottle

"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my  
tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book."      
                                                                                                                                                                        (Psalms 56:8)                                                                                      
Life does come with struggles.  I always thought I had kept a close tab on the forgiveness list.  You know, someone hurts my family (or me) in some way and I automatically forgive them.  He who is forgiven much loves much.  Jesus forgives me so much, how can I not forgive others?  Sometimes, though, hurts rise to the surface unexpectedly.  When I get angry at another time, I might throw up past offenses.  Or just out of the blue that past hurt will suddenly come to mind.  It is the Spirit wanting me to deal with these things. 

Someone may not have any idea that he has hurt you.  But it's something you struggle with every day.  Maybe something that happened long ago.  It does not mean you have not forgiven.  It means forgiveness is a process.  Believe it or not, the unforgiveness can keep you in bondage.  If you want to live in the freedom of the gospel you must give forgiveness even when it is not deserved. 

St. John of the Cross says, "I tell you acting in love when others are not acting in love toward you--this is of the highest value to your soul.  It is worth more than all the other acts of faith you may have done, no matter how great they may appear." 

The other morning getting ready for church, I really had to pray to get there.  For some reason I don't understand, it is just hard for me to leave home at times.  Probably control. Wanting comfort. Security apart from God.  Anyway, it was a huge struggle.  I do have praying friends and professional help with my disorder and I am doing very well.  Still, sometimes it is just hard. 

I even thought about the death of my mother.  I had been with her for weeks, but was not there when she died.  I have struggled with guilt because of that.  Even knowing my mother would not want that.

My pastor said that after the death of Lazarus, Jesus was so angry at sin and sickness and death, He quaked.  God tremors.  He is angry at the effects we suffer because of sin and sickness and death.  I thought of the rage of a volcano as it erupts.  It hit me.  God is angry at illness, not the person who is ill.  In the past, I had felt guilt, shame, and humiliation at times about my illness.  I didn't even realize it at the time.  But to hear God is for me, that He is angry at all the illness' effects on me, knowing He is with me and the love God has for me, that made a huge impact.  

Christ died on the cross for our freedom.  That our conscience would be clear and we would be free from guilt.  Free to follow Him.  He became mortal.  He humbled Himself even to the cross.  One reason that He suffered was to identify with our suffering. There is nothing we will ever go through that He does not know exactly how we feel.  He is full of compassion for us.  Nothing we go through is wasted.  We are not in the second plan for our lives. We are in His perfect plan.  God is still in control.  You can trust Him.  He is making things right and in Heaven they will be perfect.

One night as I sat in my car waiting for my daughter, it began to rain.  It had been a very tough day.  The drops ran down the window.  I put my hand against the window and it was as if the Spirit said to my heart:  "These are the tears I have shed for you.  I catch all your tears in a bottle.  None are wasted.  I love you."

Lord You know our hearts better than we do.  Thank You for Your compassion for us, and for Your anger toward those things that harm us.  Let us live in the freedom and joy that is ours in You. We know God, that You will work it all for good and for Your glory.  That brings such confidence in you.