There is a picture in Revelation that has always seemed strange to me. (“Just one?” you ask.) Anyway, it’s a beautiful picture. We’re all looking forward to it – God actually living in the midst of His people. Being in His presence in a new way. Walking with Him and talking with Him even closer than Adam did in Eden.
It sounds too wonderful for words. So why does “He will wipe every tear from their eyes” come next? Why would there be mourning, crying or pain? Why would tears need to be wiped away at all? As I’ve thought about, I wonder if part of the reason is that people I love aren’t there.
I don’t know if the doctrine of predestination is as hard for people in other countries to understand (maybe those countries with a caste system have trouble with some other doctrine). But in America we have always been taught that anyone can be anything they want. It’s almost a religion of its own – if you can imagine it, and work at it, you can be it. To hear that some are chosen by God (and some aren’t) is one of those pills that are just too big to get down easily.
“If someone wanted to go to heaven would He say no?” “Why doesn’t everyone get to go?” “It’s so unfair!” We forget that none of us would choose God if He hadn’t worked in our hearts ahead of time. It may have seemed like we did the deciding on our own, but left on our own we wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with Him – just like those people we love. He has chosen to work in some of the hearts of some of those who hate Him. Rather than showing how closed and tyrannical He is, it shows how unfailing His love is. Like choosing a spouse, He has determined to love us in particular. When Christ died on that cross He didn’t die for an anonymous crowd of people, but for specific ones – by name.
I don’t understand how it all works. But, then, I’m not God. This picture in Revelation gives me hope that I will understand someday.
Because God, Himself, will wipe every tear from my eyes.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
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.” (Rev 21:3-4)