Many of you may remember the song, “Message in a Bottle” made popular by a band in the 80’s called The Police. It’s a song I’ve sung many times in my past profession as a working musician, so I am familiar with the lyrics. The song is written in a very poetic manner about someone crying out – “Rescue me before I fall into despair!”
In some ways the words remind me of David’s plea in psalm 56. Both writers in poetic fashion cry out … Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me! and Rescue me before I fall into despair! Both make reference metaphorically to a bottle containing something precious. The difference is, one cries out to the Creator of the universe and the other tosses his rescue scroll into a vast ocean. In my years of ministry I have often thought of that verse where the psalmist makes reference to the contents of that bottle. “You have kept count of my wanderings; and put my tears in Your bottle” – Psalm 56:8a.
I’ve pondered what kind of tears God is holding for us; tears of sadness or tears of joy? The idea David expresses in the verse is a deep trust in God … who remembers. I believe our God, who remembers our tears of joy and tears of sadness, must be holding both mixed together.
Recently in the span of one day, I shared tears of joy over a new birth and tears of sadness over the passing of a beloved parent. As a pastor, I have stood at the bedside of loved ones entering into eternity and vividly remember tears mixed with joy and sadness, because this life holds both.
The secular song ends with the line, “I’m sending out an S.O.S.”… in other words, “I hope someone out there in the vast unknown sea will remember me and by chance save me.”
In contrast, the message in the bottle that the Father holds for us, the bottle filled with our tears of sadness and joy is this …
Every one of our tears is remembered, every one has meaning. And one day the only tears He will need to wipe away from our eyes, will be the tears of joy, from seeing Him face to face. David believed God’s word and it’s a message we can believe in too.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Rev 21:4