For All Who Are in Christ (Revelation 21:4)
“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.” —Revelation 21:4
The apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 8 that the whole creation has been “subjected to futility” (v. 20). Even those who have the “first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly”(v. 23) under this futility. Our bodies groan with sickness and disease. Our eyes overflow with tears. Our souls plunge into mourning. Our hearts heave with pain. Day after day, we groan under the curse of creation and yet—- we do not groan “as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Our Fighter Verse was given to the groaning Bride of Christ so that she might persevere in hope as she awaits her wedding day. On the night before the Bridegroom was crucified, Jesus makes it clear that the disciples were in for some serious groaning: “you will weep and lament, you will be sorrowful” (John 16:20); “…you have sorrow now” (John 16:21-22); “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).
But Jesus did not leave his disciples without hope. He makes it clear that their groaning would not endure: “you will weep and lament, you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy” (John 16:20). “You have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
For all who are in Christ, groaning must ultimately give way to rejoicing; “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy (must) come with the morning” (Psalm 30:5); tears must ultimately cease to flow; pain must ultimately be swallowed up by pleasure, mourning must give way to exultation, death must give way to everlasting life. There is no grief, no pain, no sorrow, and no death that can hold us captive. They must all ultimately yield to the One who wipes away every tear. “The ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10).
By contrast, for those outside of Christ, every joy and every pleasure in this life will ultimately give way to everlasting sorrows in that place of everlasting groaning and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:28).
Keeping the joy of Revelation 21:4 before us is the secret to enduring today’s groaning that was taught to us by the “founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Hebrews 12:2). Tears, death, mourning, crying, and pain are passing away. Let us, in hope, behold the day when Christ wipes it all away.
Are you groaning under the present circumstances of your life? If so, quote Revelation 21:4 and those specific circumstances to the list of what will be “no more” (“neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, nor cancer, nor fractured relationships, nor unemployment, etc.”). Then give thanks to God for the hope He gives us in our groaning.
Consider people you know who are “groaning” and some practical ways you can groan with them and encourage those who are groaning?
Where else in the Bible do we find Revelation 21:4 hope that reminds us that present troubles must give way to future joy?
What do you most look forward to about God dwelling with us? How does that hope sustain you in the midst of hard times?