He will swallow up death forever;

and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,

and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,

for the Lord has spoken.

Isaiah 25: 8

 

This life gives us plenty of reason to cry. We all face suffering and loss on a too regular basis. We also know with the certainty of the ages that our own days are short and are growing continually shorter. As we go through life it seems that God has created in us a paradox. For we are made to live in relationship with others and to seek out and find Godly purpose; yet, the length of our lives and the continuation of our relationships are fragile and often fleeting conditions. Yes, living in this world does give us reason to cry.

 

So, when we do shed those tears, we are not left alone. Christ has suffered the same losses that we are encountering, and He has also endured the pains of death that wrench our hearts and weary our minds. He is neither distant nor disinterested in our personal grief. Instead, Christ steps into our times of pain and grants us peace in the moment and understanding of eternity for tomorrow’s sake. In fact, it is in these darkest and most trying of times that God often seems most real and close at hand. He knows our sorrow, and He comforts our sorrowing.

 

Still, there is more. God has made a commitment to all of His creation. He will set it all right again. There will be a time to come when all that is broken, so all that is dying and death, will be done away with forever. This is the day when evil is destroyed and when this world will be replaced by one that is no longer sickened by the disease of sin. Until that day, all of us who know God will end this life by entering into the presence of Christ where we will live in the perfect peace and joy of our Lord’s unending embrace. Every tear that has ever coursed across our cheeks will be removed and the brokenness of our bodies and our hearts will be no more. For in Christ, there is eternal joy at the end of this journey.

We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

1 John 5: 20

 

Do you ever struggle to make sense of this world? I certainly do. We are confronted on a regular basis by the stories of events that totally defy reason and logic. People do things to each other that are too terrible to comprehend, and groups of people often bring greater chaos to the scene rather than aggregate reason. It is in these sorts of times that I am reminded that God has truly blessed me with this gift of His that can be called understanding. That doesn’t mean that I have perfect answers for all of the whys or that I have perfect peace and comfort in all circumstances.

 

Rather, God’s Word describes in thorough detail the world where I live. It is a place where the landscape has been tortured and fractured by the forces of satanic evil that are waging war across its surface. This same ancient conflict brings all of the people of the earth into its battle lines. There is no such thing as a non-combatant in this war for eternity. God’s Word provides clarity and understanding to this picture, for God is not the one who brings about the pain and the heartache of life. God’s design for this world was and remains one where peace and relational love prevail. Satan violently lashes out at this reality and seeks to destroy it. He uses advanced weapons such as disease, anger, jealousy, and hatred as tools of destruction.

 

For me, this knowledge helps to sort out cause and effect in my personal life and in the broader spectrum of the world around me. There is one source of goodness and love in this world and that source is God. There exists one and only one source of truth and that too is God. He has given us His Word as a directly tangible resource, and God has also provided His Spirit to His people in order to guide and counsel us as we search for the eternal truths that it contains. This Godly understanding does not eliminate pain, suffering, and grief, but it does eliminate confusion and doubt. Through all that happens in this life, God’s love is absolute and unshakable, His grace and mercy are present, and He continually holds His people close in the Father’s eternal loving embrace.