The following is the latest in a series of daily meditations amid the pandemic. Today’s musical pairing: a simple version of “Give Me Jesus” by Sara Watkins. All songs for this series have been gathered into a Spotify playlist.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
Psalm 56:8 (NLT)
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Revelation 21:4 (NIV)
Meditation 25. 3,305,595 confirmed cases, 235,861 deaths globally.
The Bible ends with an ecstatic vision. A new heaven and a new earth—and a new Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev. 21:2). A voice cries out from the throne of heaven and declares, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev 21:3–4).
The heavenly proclamation includes an allusion to Isaiah 25:8: “The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces.”
It easy to forget how astonishing this is. The Jews had come to recognize that God is far greater than any other god people had ever imagined. They did not worship many gods and spirits. They worshipped a single God who created all things simply by speaking them into being. And yet that God, a God of transcendent power and ineffable majesty, also cares about the most minute sorrows of his people.
“I live in a high and holy place,” God says in Isaiah 57:15, “but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit.”
We may be tempted to dismiss it as a poetic sentiment. We shouldn’t. There is nothing more true than this. The immensity of the love of God is in the intimacy of his care. No sorrow is so small it escapes his attention. The God of the universe, the same God who set the span of the cosmos and rules over all time and space, gathers our tears in a bottle. For each of us. Our sufferings are remembered in God. Even the sorrows we never disclose to any person on the planet reside in him eternally. They are our secret with him for eternity.
God gathers our tears and records them in his book, but he also promises to end them. Even lifelong sufferings are temporary. When we look back from eternity, it will seem as though they passed in the blink of an eye. Where there are sorrows, they will cease. Where there are tears, they will be wiped away.
There will come a day when the last tear is shed. Then, O Lord, we will live among you forever. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
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