The Only Tears in Heaven

How many tears do we shed over the course of a lifetime? From the days of infancy when we cry out from hunger and discomfort, to the days of old age when we weep from the agony of physical pain and the sorrow of compounding loss, we are creatures who cry, creatures who express inward trauma with outward weeping. The path that leads from birth to Beulah is a path stained by tears.

It is little wonder, then, that many of the Bible’s promises are concerned with our sorrow, that they point us to a time when all tears will be dried, to a place where all weeping will be comforted. “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy,” says the psalmist, and “weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” “He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces,” promises the prophet. Then, as the Bible comes to its final pages, John describes his vision of a multitude of saints joining their hearts in praise. They are in the presence of God, clothed in white robes, waving palm branches, and crying aloud in triumph, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” These now reveling in joy are the ones who have passed through the great tribulation, who have suffered grievously for the sake of the name of Jesus. How, then, can they be rejoicing? They can rejoice because they have received the promised reward, that “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

What greater promise do we have than this, that in a moment God will comfort all sorrow, that his tender hand will wipe away not just some tears, but every tear?

He will wipe away our tears of grief, for never again will we endure loss, never again will we have to say farewell to those we love.

He will wipe away our tears of pain, for never again will we experience the suffering of illness, the agony of physical trauma.

He will wipe away our tears of anxiety, for never again will we fret over an unknown future, never again will we weep with anxious uncertainty as we consider the hazy days to come.

He will wipe away our tears of despondency, for never again will we be overwhelmed by the cares of life, never again overshadowed by the darkness of depression.

He will wipe away our tears of fearfulness, for never again will we need to fear the devil, fear the darkness, fear the creatures of the night.

He will wipe away our tears of remorse, for never again will we sin, never again will we fail to fulfill our whole duty to God and man.

He will wipe away our tears of shame, for never again will we blunder and fall, never again will we commit shameful deeds that cause us to hang our heads in humiliation.

He will wipe away our tears of repentance, for never again will we have to apologize, and never again will we have to plead for the forgiveness of God or man.

He will wipe away our tears of envy, for never again will we be consumed with our lack of accomplishment, never again will we compare ourselves unfavorably with others.

He will wipe away our tears of disappointment, for never again will we experience the sadness and displeasure of falling short of our expectations or his.

He will wipe away our tears of self-pity, for never again will we feel sorry for ourselves, never again will we become self-absorbed with our own shortcomings and failures.

He will even wipe away our holy tears of sympathy, for never again will we need to weep with those who weep.

What a day that will be when every tear is dried by God’s most tender, gentle hand!

But I do wonder, might there still be tears in heaven? Didn’t God create our bodies with glands to produce them, with eyes to glisten with them, with cheeks to display them? Though we weep at our lowest moments, don’t we also weep at our highest? Though our eyes fill with tears when we sink to the valleys, don’t they also fill with tears when we soar to the heights? Maybe then, just maybe, such tears will still fill our eyes when we stand before that throne, when we gain a sight of that Lamb, when we join our voices to sing of that salvation. Maybe, just maybe, these will be the only tears in heaven.

Tim Challies

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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