Today, I met with some of my Wednesday Girls for coffee/tea and a book discussion.  We are reading through a couple of books this summer, and today we started our discussion of The Shack.   An interesting book, to say the least, and one that brings about lively discussion [As an aside: If you read it, don’t just take the book’s word as the last word.  As it helps you think about God in a little broader fashion, be sure you filter it through the Truth He’s given about Himself in Scripture. For more, see my comment to this post. ]

There is an instance in the book where the character of the Holy Spirit stops to collect the tears of the main character, Mack.  The tears are lovingly and gently taken from his face and stored in a bottle.  One of my girlfriends said, “isn’t that directly from scripture?”  Another friend, Miss Techno-savvy, whipped out her Palm with the bible software and did a quick search for “tear”. Nothing about tear-collection that she could see.  So we moved on.
I kept thinking about it.  When I got home, there was an email waiting for me from Right to the Heart of Women (Rebekah Montgomery/Linda Evans Shepherd), called, “Does God Value Your Tears?”  And there it was, in a different translation than the one my friend was searching:
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

Think of all the times we’ve been told to stop crying, to be a big girl, to dry it up.  All those tears treated like something to be tossed away with the soggy Kleenex. Sometimes, they are surface tears that are more about getting attention than deep-down hurt, and perhaps those really do belong in the trash.  
But there are other tears.  Tears that are born of the deep, piercing wound, of trials that are being borne bravely through second-by-second surrender and trust.  Those are the tears that are so valuable to our God that He lovingly removes them, one-by-one, and stores them in His bottle – the tears that He uses to wash away our anxiety, to cleanse our wounds, to heal our hearts.  Yes, those are the tears that glisten like diamonds when stored together, a monument to Emmanuel, “God With Us”.  
God with us…through every tear.