Finding Joy Regardless

Archive for August, 2018

He Catches All my Tears: A Story

            “Wha’cha doin’, Lord?,” Gabrielle asked, as only someone familiar with God and His machinations could.
            “Oh, hi, Gabrielle. I just finished catching Polly’s tears,” the Lord said as He put the cap on a very large, beautiful pink bottle and placed it on a table.
            “Polly? Again? Lord, forgive me, but aren’t You getting sick and tired of focusing so much of Your Precious time catching her tears? She’s been crying nonstop for twenty years now, right?”
God nodded, “Give or take.”
“Good grief, every time we turn around, she’s crying again. Can’t she keep it together? She is so super co-dependent! She just needs to take her meds and get off it. Why can’t she just get over it already? Sheez! The angels are beginning to talk, you know.”
            The Lord smiled gently as He sat at His desk, pulling Polly’s book close, and opening to a clean page. He began writing.
            Gabrielle spent the time waiting to walk around the room, looking at the various bottles the Lord kept stored with their books. Gabrielle had no idea how in the world God had the time to keep track of all the tears of all the individual people in the world, write their individual sorrows in their books, and keep track of all the prayers that came every second of every moment of every day. It made Gabrielle’s head spin just trying to think about it, let alone comprehend it. But he knew God was God.
            Gabrielle continued His tirade. God was good at multitasking, of course. “It’s just so frustrating with this woman, Lord. I mean, come on, You Yourself gave her the anointing oil of Joy more than anyone else. I was there when You did it. It was a Joyous day. After all she’d been through already, I was just as excited as everyone else to see her finally get some relief to her tears then. That was a very good thing You did for her. It was a joy to see her tears turn from sorrow to joy that day.”
God sat back in His chair, steepling His fingers as He remembered the day He helped Polly see Psalm 45:7 in His Love Letter, knowing in her heart–feeling it deep in her knower, hearing the voice of His Holy Spirit that it was meant just for her: “You love justice and hate evil. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.”
It had been a Glorious Day. They had all been waiting for her to see it: His angels, Jesus, His Holy Spirit, and Polly’s children–James Isaac, Panya Ruth (Panny), and Anna Rose. They were so excited for her to see it and Know that it was especially for her. Oh, the celebration they’d had when she’d Gotten It!
Polly’s children had been so delighted. They’d been dressed in their best. They’d waited with such great anticipation, alternately sitting on His lap and jumping up to run to watch their Mommy. God had chuckled at their own joy for their beloved Mommy. Even James Isaac, the oldest of the three children, trying desperately to be a big boy, couldn’t contain his excitement for his Mommy.
Jesus, when will she see it? She’s going to be so excited! She’s going to love having Joy, isn’t she?!”
“Yes, James, she is.”
Panya Ruth came running back, her brown, curly hair flying all around her, her arms wide open as she flew full tilt into the Lord’s arms, laughing wildly. He caught her easily, laughing heartily along with her. “Oh, Jesus! Mommy is gonna be so happy with Your present! Did you put a pretty pink bow on it!”
“No, honey, I didn’t. Now why didn’t I think of that?”
“That’s ok. Anna and I will take care of it! Come on, Anna!”
Shyly, Anna stood by Jesus’ knee. The Lord put His arm around her and hugged her close. “What is it, Dearest?”
“Will my Mommy never be sad again?” her tiny voice quipped.
Panny for once sat still and quiet as a mouse. James moved closer and leaned against the Lord’s side, too. Jesus pulled Polly’s children close and kissed each before answering Anna’s important question.
“My beloveds, the gift of joy is truly a very precious gift. It is an honor to give it to your mother. She deserves it. She has fought hard since you three are here with me rather than on earth with her. As you all know, that hurts her heart very much. This is why we all want so much to give her this gift of joy, right?”
“Right,” three small voices piped, as three small bodies snuggled as close as they could to Jesus’ heart as is only possible with the Son of God.
“But your Mommy will still have sadness. Great sadness. The truth is she has a long way to go on her journey and that journey includes a lot more sadness as well as joy.”
“But why, Jesus? Why can’t Mommy just have joy all the time?” James asked boldly.
“I have a Great Work for Mommy, James.”
“A ‘Great Work’?” Panny piped in.
“Yes. And in order to prepare her for this Great Work, she is going to have to go through these seasons of sadness first. And joy, too.”
“But I only want Mommy to have Joy. I don’t like to see her so sad, Jesus,” Anna pouted prettily, tears shining in her bright brown eyes.
“I know, honey. It hurts my heart, too. Believe me. It truly does. Do you not see here, how my heart is bleeding?”
The children pulled away from Jesus enough to notice the blood stain on the front of His shirt.
James, awed, asked, “You’re bleeding because You love my Mommy that much? It hurts You that much to see her so sad?”
“Yes, James, it does.”
“I still don’t understand, Jesus,” Panny continued to pout. “If it hurts Your heart so much that You bleed for her, then let her have joy all the time!”
All three children sat up and looked at Jesus with their beautiful brown, puppy-dog eyes, blinking at Him with the Great Hope, believing with all their little Hearts that He would choose just Joy for their beloved Mommy and no more sadness.
“Oh, my sweets. Do you see how very joyful I am here with you in spite of my sadness, in spite of the fact that my heart breaks enough to bleed for people like your Mommy?”
“Yes,” all three children nodded solemnly.
“Do you remember what happened to me before I came to live here forever?”
“Of course. It’s our favorite story,” Anna said quietly. “You were murdered.”
“That’s right. I was nailed to a cross. I died a horrible death because I loved each of you and your Mommy so very much.”
The children put their tiny hands in His and traced the nails’ scars. Panny reached up and pushed His hair off His forehead, revealing the scars from the thorny crown. “Did it hurt much, Jesus?” She planted a kiss on one of the larger scars.
“Yes, it did, sweetheart.”
“But you’re Jesus!” James’ eyes almost popped out of his head.
Jesus chuckled. “That may be so, son, but at that moment, I was a human man and it hurt as such things hurt any human being. I was in more physical pain throughout the whole of that time than you can imagine. And I don’t want you to imagine it.”
“Oh, Jesus!” Anna threw her arms around Jesus, hugging him tightly, her tears flowing freely.
Panny kissed His brow over and over.
James grinned goofily at Him.
“But You still haven’t exactly explained why Mommy can’t have joy all the time, Jesus,” Panny reminded Jesus.
“Right, yes. Well, while I was on the cross, that was my own Great Sadness. The Greatest Sadness I have ever felt. I had been sad before and will be sad again, but that was the Greatest Sadness ever. Since I’ve come to Heaven to be with my Father, I’ve had Joy like nothing I’ve ever known before, especially since each of you has arrived!” Jesus tickled each child in turn, making each squeal in glee.
“So what I hear You saying, Jesus,” James said when they’d settled down again, is that in order to know true Joy, my Mom has to know the Great Sadness, too?”
In answer, Jesus gathered the three children in His arms and the four of them watched as Polly discovered her gift of the anointing oil of joy more than anyone else.
            “Lord?”
            “What?
            “Are you even listening to me?”
            “Yes, Gabrielle, I’ve heard every word. I was just remembering the day Polly received the anointing oil of Joy. That was a beautiful day.”
            “But what exactly did it accomplish? Here we are, You’re still catching Polly’s tears and writing in her book. You’re spending an inordinate amount of time on her, Lord. It’s too much. Why’d You give her such an anointing if it’s all for nothing?”
            “Gabrielle, don’t you receive great joy through Polly?”
            “Of course, Lord. As You well know, we all love to hear her laugh. We gather with her children and have the most wonderful Laughing Parties. Such great times.” Gabrielle smiled fondly as he thought of Polly’s children. “So why does she still cry? She has so much capacity for great Joy! And she brings so much Joy to others! Her laugh is infectious! After all she’s been through, she deserves as much Joy as she can get. Not tears, not sorrow. Oh, God, why is she still crying?!”
            “Gabrielle,” God came around the table and laid His hand on Gabrielle’s shoulder to calm him. “Your frustration is good. I am so thankful that you care so much about the one I have asked you to watch over. But have you been watching her carefully recently?”
            Gabrielle squirmed. He stood and began pacing the room, avoiding looking directly at God. “Of course. She’s getting ready for the Great Thing You have for her. She’s been in the Word so much that I haven’t needed to keep such a close watch on her.”
            “Tell me the last thing you saw with Polly.”
            “That’s easy. She fulfilled her dream of taking Samuel to Disney World.”
            “Gabrielle, it’s been five years. What have you been doing since then?” the Lord chided.
            “Well, she was doing so well, I decided to focus on some of my other assignments who weren’t doing well and who needed more of my time.”
            “Gabrielle, you saw the outward appearance. The show. Not the heart. You saw what you wanted to see. I’m disappointed in you. Why did you give up so easily?”
            “Come on, God!? Seriously? You gave her the anointing oil of Joy! She didn’t NEED watching over! Someone with such an anointing certainly doesn’t need help from us! She’s the very one who is helping others! She’s going to be made a Saint! Well, not really because they don’t really do that in her time, but she is going to be one here. Why should I spend so much time on someone who doesn’t need it? She has JOY, God! Given in over-abundance to her by You! How in the world can she possibly still have so much sorrow?! I just don’t understand. I don’t want to spend any more time watching over her. I just don’t. I’m personally sick and tired of the ups and downs. I can’t handle it, God.”
            “How do you think she feels?”
            “How do I think she feels? I don’t care anymore, Lord!! She’s driven me almost mad! This rollercoaster of emotions is too much! I have too much to do to stay on this ride with her. My stomach simply can’t handle it. Hers can’t either, you know. Why don’t You just give her the Big Thing and be done with it so we can all get on with our lives?!”
            “Gabrielle.”
            “No, God. Look at her. Look at her right now. She is worshiping you. She is fine. There is nothing wrong with her. She is praising You with all her heart and soul. She is not sorrowful. She has been studying Your Word with due diligence. She has been doing any number of Bible Studies. I saw that You sent her to that week-long place for counseling and she came home on the mountain-top. Her friends have rallied around her. Her son is doing well. She is fine. Did you hear that laughter during her Sunday School class? No sorrow. No tears. You can’t fool me. Her tears are fake. She is full of JOY.”
            “Gabrielle.”
            “I don’t believe that a woman to whom You Yourself gave the anointing oil of joy more than else can possibly be that sad, Lord! I’ll get her to go back to her doctor and up her meds. That’s it. The dosage isn’t high enough. I’ll get right on that. Ah.”
            “Gabrielle.”
            “No, Lord. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of her tears! I’m sick of You spending so much time catching her tears! I’m sick of You spending so much time writing about her sorrows in Your book! Good grief! There are other people in the world! Get her to make a decision and MOVE ON! Other people do it every day! Why can’t she?! What makes her so special that she is stuck in this rut? You have such a Special Thing for her! Give it to her! Make it happen so we can all get on with our lives! It’ll get her to stop CRYING ALL THE TIME!”
            “Gabrielle.”
            “No! You gave her the anointing oil of JOY! You can’t give that to someone and expect me to be ok with all her many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many tears! No! I’m done! I’m not going to watch over her anymore! You deal with her! I can’t take it anymore!” Gabrielle turned around to find himself completely alone.
            He sighed deeply and sat down at God’s table in front of Polly’s open book of sorrows. Sliding his hand across the page, he began to read.

He collects ALL my Tears

Over the course of the past year, I have cried a LOT of tears. I

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joked with a couple of folks that instead of a bottle for my tears, the Lord now has a lake if not an ocean. I’m awed by the fact that I still have tears to cry after all the tears I’ve shed. I’m awed by the fact that my Lord has promised to hold ALL my tears in a bottle. I’m awed by the fact that He has promised to write ALL my sorrows in His book: Psalm 56:8 (NLT), “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
Why is that so very comforting? Do you find it comforting, as I do, that God holds our tears in a bottle? As the tears pour down my cheeks, I often allow them to fall rather than grabbing a tissue to wipe them because I imagine God catching them. I don’t want anything to hinder Him, especially not a dumb tissue. But then I also imagine Him wringing out each and every tissue I’ve used, getting out every last drop–including the snot because that’s part of my sorrow. 

Don’t flake out on me because I’ve gone there. Come on, now. Let’s be real, here. You know what I’m talking about. The truth is that when we are crying, when we are sorrowful (hurting, truly SAD), along with the tears, there are other bodily fluids and snot is just a natural part of that. It can’t be helped. The harder I cry in my sorrow, the more tears that fall, and the snot gathers. Don’t be disgusted.

God isn’t. This is real. This is reality. This is where the real pain hits the road. God knows. He knows all our hurts. All our sorrow. We shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed of it or to talk about it. It shouldn’t be taboo. 

Not only does He catch ALL our tears in a bottle (which, by the way, I believe is ONE bottle for EACH individual person, not one bottle that mixes every person in the world), but did you read the last line of Psalm 56:8?? He writes each of our sorrows in His book.

What book, you ask? I don’t know, but God has a book and a bottle for each and every single one of us and He is keeping track of ALL of our sorrows–our deepest pains and hurts. He is not comparing your sorrow to mine or Martha’s or Suzie’s or Mark’s or Harry’s or Mr. Jones’ down the street. He is seeing, hearing, and feeling MY sorrow, MY tears as I cry and He is not only catching them in a bottle, He is writing them in His book. And yours, too.

Wow.

God cares enough about ME, little insignificant ME, Polly Anna who drives a lot of people around her a little nuts with her over-exuberance, enough to catch–and KEEP–close to His heart (I imagine) ALL my tears and to write them in His book. I can’t explain more than this why it’s so incredibly comforting to me that God catches my tears in a bottle and writes them in a book, but I will continue to thank Him for loving me enough to do so.

“God Has Taken Care of Sorrows and Tears Psalm 56:8 NKJV | If I Could Bottle It | Pinterest | Psalm 56, Bible and Psalms.” Pinterest, http://www.pinterest.com/pin/266205027947322408/.
*Note: I could not cite the original citation for the image as every time I opened the website, all I could get was an advertisement.”

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