Today’s Bible reading is 2 Samuel 16 and Revelation 21.
Pain. Grief. Death. They rank among the most difficult of present things.
The revelation of Jesus Christ to John describes many dark and difficult realities. However difficult they are for us to read, most of us can only imagine how difficult they were for a 1st and 2nd-century audience to endure.
- The devil had thrown saints from Smyrna into prison (2:10)
- Antipas, a faithful witness of Jesus, had been killed among saints in Pergamum (2:13)
- Peace was taken from the earth (6:4)
- Men and women were slain for the word of God (6:9)
- Witnesses of God had been killed and their bodies left in the street (11)
- The devil, full of great wrath, had made war on those who held to the testimony of Jesus (12)
- The endurance of the saints had been tested by governmental and religious “beasts” (13)
- The “mother of earth’s abominations” had become drunk with the blood of the saints (17)
Again, it’s hard for most of us to even imagine. But before the vision is complete, God uses John to make at least one thing crystal clear.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21:3-4)
“Former things.” Former things are in the past. They came before, and they are no more. Their time has come and gone. They are “former” things.
Child of God, your heavenly Father wants you to know that the day is coming when every tear, every experience of pain, every season of mourning, every temptation, every hardship, even death itself–all of the most painful things in the present–are transformed into “former things.”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Rev 21:5)
And so we live, we endure, we grieve, we hope, and we press on by faith, trusting the testimony of the One who has conquered and promised to make all things new. We walk by faith in the present, fully assured of our future, because “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18).
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!