An Inventory of Tears

He will wipe 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

When we’re looking for hope, the Bible is a great place to start - it’s pages are filled with promises that point us to Jesus and give us the strength to carry on. We need that; the burdens of life at times feel heavy enough to crush us to a pulp. My burden has been an eight and a half journey through chronic pain; maybe yours is a marriage that’s slowly falling apart, decades of depression that won’t lift despite all your efforts, the painful fallout of a child who continues to make destructive choices in life… This broken, fallen world has no shortage of things that seek to rob us of our peace and hope.

That’s why I love verses like Revelation 21:4 - there is so much in this life that quite honestly doesn’t make sense from our limited perspective. Imagine a day when we will stand before our Heavenly Father, and in a moment he’ll wipe away all our tears and redeem every one of those painful experiences. The thought of God wiping away my tears literally brings me to tears - it puts a smile on my face and I feel as though a heavy weight is lifted from my burdened soul.

Joni Eareckson Tada writes about Revelations 21:4 in her devotional “An Inventory of Tears.” Here is a woman who knows pain and suffering! Joni has spent over 5 decades in a wheelchair, paralyzed below the neck. She’s also lives with severe chronic pain, and is going through her second round of cancer. In fact, her ministry recently asked for prayer as Joni’s cancer treatments caused so much pain that she wasn’t able to breathe and had to be hospitalized.

I know Joni has shed many tears in her journey through pain, loss, disability, and depression. Of Revelations 21:4 she had this to say:

The image of God tenderly wiping away your tears describes a loving and compassionate moment in heaven between you and your Savior. Your earthly sorrows have a profound purpose in eternity: They are setting the stage for God to engage Himself wholly and completely in your eternal comfort.

I’m not sure why God’s plan for my life included chronic pain; trying to answer the “why’s” of chronic pain just about drove me crazy. It’s so much better to leave the “why’s” in God’s hands and instead ask him to show me how to do this thing called life. Joni finishes her thoughts with this word of encouragement:

...God will account for every one of your tears. The reason for your suffering will be made plain as God reveals the unseen and unimagined purposes behind your hurts through the years. And as He dries your tears in heaven, it will showcase His intimate affection toward you personally—much more so than if you never cried!

Do you wonder if God sees your tears? He does - and someday soon when you see him face to face those tears will become a treasure for all eternity - let that truth give you hope!