In good company

Guys, David had back pain!  Listen to this…”my back is filled with searing pain, there is no health in my body…” (Psalm 38:7).  Why is it that knowing someone else suffered like I do makes me feel a little better?  

Haven’t you been in that conversation?  Your friend starts describing her situation, “my son just won’t talk to me, he seems to spend all of his time in his room…” and you blurt out, “mine, too!”  Somehow knowing that you are not the only one experiencing what you are experiencing makes it seem a little less terrible.  

When I was a little girl my parents separated and then divorced.  It was the 1970s and divorce wasn’t as common, at least in my small town, as it is now.  I felt alone and so broken.  My poor teachers, parents, and friends.  I was such a crier anyway, and this really unleashed the tears.  I cried and cried and cried.  For years. It’s rather embarrassing to think about, actually.  I am a very messy crier, and, especially in middle school, I didn’t really care where I was crying.  It was pretty ugly.  

But God ‘stored up those tears in a bottle’ (Psalm 56:8).  Every single tear.  Kids, I’ve got a whole cellar full of bottles.  They are well-aged.  And mellowed.  And every once in a while I get to open a bottle and serve it to someone else.  It happens at unexpected times.  A student comes in between classes and confides, “Mrs. Rathje, my dad moved out last night…” Or a friend calls and says, “I don’t think I have any options left…” Their tears spill out.  I pull out the tissues and I open a bottle from my cellar.  My tears of anger and hurt and betrayal have mellowed and transformed into a balm of comfort. Through some miracle of God I am able to “comfort others with the comfort I have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).  

Recently, a friend served me from her cellar.  When I was in the process of being diagnosed, I was confused and anxious.  She kept a bottle at her desk and willingly poured out the balm in small doses whenever I needed a little comfort. 

You all have your stories, I am sure of how you have served and been served from the storehouse of the tears of others.  Just yesterday, after I posted my whiny, complainy entry, a friend from my past sent me a message from her bottle.  It was encouraging, and strengthening. 

I don’t like being a whining, complaining drain on my friends and family.  Neither do you. But sometimes, guys, we hurt.  I am trying to learn how to be honest about my hurt without dwelling on it or becoming a burden to others.  I feel it is a delicate line. 

So, in my quest for truth, I go to God’s Word where he says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).  You can’t help me carry it unless you know I have it.  I can’t carry yours unless you allow me to see it. We’ve all got burdens.  Even David.  

I like to think that his Psalms are poured out from his bottles. I know I have been comforted with the comfort that he received from God. 

 

 

 

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