As a small non-profit with a big mission, we rely on the generous gifts of supporters like you to help our ministry prosper and grow.



Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Mary C. Earle

Wednesday, May 6

You have noted my lamentation;
Put my tears into your bottle;
Are they not recorded in your book?
—Psalm 56:8

The psalms offer us the possibility that we don't have to clean up our act before we pray. As a matter of fact, the psalms tell us that every single tear that we shed is noted by God. The psalms encourage us to know that the ragged emotions and experiences of life belong in the hands of the living God—despite what our worship services may imply.

A friend of mine once told me that when she went to worship at her particular church, she felt like she was supposed to leave her calling card on God's front table, but she never had a real conversation. I have never forgotten that image. If we cannot be honest with the God unto whom "all hearts are open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid," (Book of Common Prayer, p. 355) then why bother?

This same friend (who would not necessarily call herself a theologian, though she is one) has endured an uncommon amount of tragedy and loss in her 60 plus years. She has been through more than many care to imagine. She has also said to me, "If Jesus wasn't born into this mess—if he wasn't really a human being who had to live through some of this awful stuff—then I think it's not worth messing with."

Her lamentation led her to the deepest honesty in her personal prayer. She put all of her tears in God's bottle—the tears about bankruptcy, the tears about the breakup of her marriage, the tears about the death of her grandson.

She decided that leaving the calling card on God's table in the entry hall just was not going to cut it. So she started by telling the truth, by sobbing in prayer, by naming every loss, every sadness, every single serrated moment.

And she found, when it was all said and done, that not only was it recorded in God's book. She found that God was present with her in each step of the journey, not in any saccharine smarmy way, but as the God who dwells in all places and fills all things.

Grant me the grace, dear Friend and Guide, to entrust you with all my lamentations. And then to allow you to lead me out of sadness into joy, out of cynicism to trust, out of death into life. Amen.

The Signposts for May originally appeared on explorefaith in 2006.