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Biblical Themes :
No More Tears

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"God Will Wipe Away Every Tear From Their Eyes" 

Read : Revelation 21: 1-5 

Just as Genesis is the book of beginnings, Revelation is the book of consummation. In it, God's divine program of redemption is brought to fruition, and the holy name of God is vindicated before all creation. Although there are numerous prophecies in the Gospels and Epistles, Revelation is the only New Testament book, that focuses primarily on prophetic events. Its title means unveiling or disclosure. Thus the book is an unveiling of the character and program of God.  

The book of Revelation was penned by St John during his exile on the small desolate island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea, which was one of several places to which the Romans banished criminals and political offenders.  

The book of Revelation centres on visions and symbols of the resurrected Christ, who alone has the authority to judge the earth, to remake it, and to rule it in righteousness. 

The book of Revelation centres on visions and symbols of the resurrected Christ, who alone has the authority to judge the earth, to remake it, and to rule it in righteousness. 

John tells us that because the first creation has passed away, the whole of the created universe will be new - meaning not just recently made, but new in quality. It is a new world without Satan and without sin. It is because these evils are so much a part of this world, that to remove them God must make all things new.  

When John writes "I am making everything new" he is referring primarily to the final renewing at the End of Time. However, you might have noticed that John uses the present tense rather than the future tense, and it is worth reflecting that God is continually makes things new, right here and now. These words offer reassurance for the persecuted and threatened church, both in John's day, and now. 

John tells us that when God dwells with humanity, God Himself will be the consoler of his people. God will tenderly wipe away every tear, he will remove every sorrow and every pain. John gives a list of evils, which will cease to be, with death at the top of his list. As God's people, we need to remember that death has no final triumph, and that ultimately it will cease to be. So death, sadness, crying, and pain will all cease. Life as we know it, will be completely replaced by the new order. 

So we come to the promise that is the theme of this piece : "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes". I am sure that you all have particular promises that mean a lot to you, and that you hang on to, well, this is one of mine. However, if you are someone whose life has always run smoothly, if God's plan for you has always been crystal clear, if you've always been able to trust God utterly and completely for everything, if you have never suffered a moment's doubt in your faith, then this promise may not seem very important to you.  

If however, your life hasn't always gone smoothly, if you've ever been betrayed, or let down, or abandoned, or lost someone you love. If you have ever thought you were doing God's will, only to have your life come crashing down around your ears. If you have ever sat in the middle of the night (or any other time of the day,) feeling utterly alone and crying your heart out, just wishing there was someone you could talk to. If your marriage that started so well, ended in bitter divorce. If you have been made redundant or forced into early retirement by a company, to whom you gave your loyalty, time and effort. If you have ever reached the point where you don't even have the words to pray any more, and all you can offer to God are your tears and your pain. If like me, you can identify with several, or even just one of these, or similar, situations - then this promise may be one of the best in the Bible for you. 

Of course, there are many promises in the Bible, promises that are there to help us through the bad times, but we may find that sometimes it can be hard to hang on to them. Sometimes, we may feel that they don't really help us in our situation.  

Perhaps we read Jesus' promise that "I am with you always" - but even though we believe that with our head, when we feel utterly alone and we are at the bottom of that deep, dark pit, we may be unable to still feel his presence with us.  


"I will send you a helper" Jesus said, and even though we do believe that the Holy Spirit is with us, when life comes crashing down around our ears, we can feel as though our helper has abandoned us as a lost cause.  

One of the most frequently repeated phrases in the Bible is "Do not be afraid" - and although we do believe that God is in charge, when we have just been made redundant, and don't know how we're going to put food on the table, let alone make the next mortgage payment, we do fear what lies ahead.  

We do believe that God is a caring God, who loves us, but when we, or someone we love, suffers terribly, perhaps through a terminal illness, we can find it almost impossible to keep believing in a loving and compassionate God.  

Whatever we know, or believe, or trust, about God when things are going smoothly, when we find ourselves at the bottom of that dark pit, then we may find that nothing feels as certain as we thought it was. 

And when we are at the bottom of that pit, what we are looking for probably isn't a magic wand that will turn back time, or make everything right again - even then we know that's not possible. If we can admit it, what we probably want more than anything, is someone to hold us, to comfort us, to wipe away our tears, and let us know that we are not alone, and that is why today's promise might just be the one that could help. Remember John writes, "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes".  

However alone, or abandoned, or betrayed, we may feel, there is someone who longs to comfort us, there is someone who longs to wipe away our tears, and that someone is God. Yes, the God who created everything in the universe, the God who flung stars into space, is longing to get out his hankie and wipe away our tears - doesn't that bring a lump to your throat ? …and although it may not happen right here and now, one day, when we come face to face with God, then it will happen. God will wipe away our tears, and there will be no more death, or sadness, or crying, or pain. 


Next time you find yourself at the bottom of that pit, its my hope that you will remember this promise, and that it might just help you in that dark time. On the other hand, if you know someone who is in that pit now, maybe for a while, you could be God's hands for them, and help to wipe away their tears.  

John wrote, "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, or sadness, or crying, or pain, because the old things have passed away." I think this is definitely a promise worth remembering and hanging on to. 

Ruth Gillett, Reflective Worship


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