Misery Needs Company (Psalm 56)

Record my misery;
list my tears on your scroll–
are they not in your record? (Psalm 56:8).

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When you are anxious, how do you imagine God to be? Is he detached from your worries, too busy to care? Does he need to be convinced to intervene? Do you envision that he’s disappointed and your misery is merely a consequence? David does not believe in an indifferent God but a sensitive God. God records our every heartache, registers every tear, and remembers every cry.
The NIV says “list my tears on your scroll,” but some translations use the phrase “put my tears in your bottle.” I imagine God’s memory like a Library of Congress with rolling ladders and rows and rows of hardbound books that record every moment of misery, every day of doubt, every tear of trauma. This is the God David trusts, the God who tallies our turmoil and counts every cruelty. When we break down in tears, we need to know that we have a Friend who listens and cries with us and never forgets the pain we endure.
When we think God has forgotten us, remember that he hasn’t! He may seem distant but he is near. He may seem blind but he watches our every movement. He may seem absent but he is ever present. We can replace our anxiety with assurance when we know that we are specially seen by God.

52 Weeks Through the Psalms

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Add this to the list of things God never says: “Wow. I didn’t see that coming!” God is never surprised by our anxieties, worries, and sobs. He is near enough to collect our every tear and console us through the comfort of his Holy Spirit. God never does a face-palm when we blow it (again!). When it seems he near, that’s the time to set aside our fallible feelings and trust his word. He is our most compassionate Friend.

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James Merritt. 52 Weeks Through The Psalms Devotional. Harvest House Publishers. Eugene, Oregon, 2018.