Monday, December 28, 2015
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.” Revelation 21:4(NLT)
It’s most difficult to approach a new year without some looking back. Perhaps that’s why this text is part of today’s readings – it leaves looking back in the rear view mirror! At this point in Revelation’s prophecy everything points forward to a time when all the memories of sorrow, pain and death are just that – memories.
There is going to come a time when what we generally picture when we use the phrase “eternal life” will be a reality – no more death, sorrow, crying or pain.
He said no more.
Frankly, I find it hard to imagine, especially at this stage of life, nearing the threshold of my eighth decade. Yet, I think about it more, and have faith that it is true.
A question that comes on the heels of every sermon on this topic of heaven and God wiping away all tears is: Will we remember? And it’s a fair question as to IF we will recall every tear, heartache and loss. Of course the answer becomes conjecture at best, and an argument from silence at worst, because Scripture, as far as I can tell, is not specific at this point. And what God has not told us, we can only speculate.
My speculative answer is that I believe we will recall everything, which is based on John’s wipe every tear from their eyes proclamation. After all, if you’re going to have tears, you have to remember what made you cry in the first place.
Arriving at that deduction is based on one of John’s other statements:
Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 1 John 3:2(NLT)
Now since we will be like him then, we will also remember, think and reason perfectly. Therefore we will also understand how the perfect will of God has been fulfilled. This is the reason for drying of eyes – we will have been introduced at that point to all the answers to all our “why’s”. All our speculation and doubt over this life’s pain, sorrow, crying and death will melt into crystal clear understanding, and we will know as God knows.
Knowing as God knows is like finally being able to look at the tapestry from the right side. If you have ever looked at the back side of a tapestry hanging on a wall, you only see there are threads going everywhere; not much pattern. Flip it over, and you understand – you see the big picture, and begin to understand the artist’s heart.
Our life on earth is somewhat like that because of sin. While we have the stamp of the Artist’s image on our hearts, it is blurred, distorted and fading. The Apostle Paul reminds us that it won’t always be that way:
All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Corinthians 13:12(NLT)
This past year may have been a tough one; 2016 may be tougher or easier, filled with pain and heartache, or a pause in the crying and tears department.
We never know what lies around the next corner.
But HE knows, and for those who trust in Christ, we trust that someday those tears and everything that caused them will cease; He will say NO MORE!