“Read Revelation 21:1-6. What part of this promised future especially consoles or encourages you right now? Explain why.”
I am currently working through Beth Moore’s most recent study, Entrusted, and this was the prompt given at the end of the lesson entitled, “In the Last Days.”
This study has been so profound and thought provoking so far, but this question specifically made me think harder. My answer to this question caused me to stop and thank God for His grace throughout my life and just how far our relationship has come. (I have included the Scripture at the bottom if you would like to read it and think about your own answer before continuing to read mine.)
If I had gone through this study 7 years ago, 4 years ago, or maybe even a little over 1 year ago, my automatic answer would have been, “Verse 4: He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.”
This would have been my answer because, up until the last year or so of my life, I felt like all I knew was Death, Grief, Crying, and Pain. I focused on the idea that God would one day get rid of all of those things. I had to. My very life depended on it.
Believing that, one day, I wouldn’t have to feel that way anymore. One day, the pain would stop. One day, in Heaven, no one else would have to die, no one else would be able to betray me. One day, in God’s presence, there would only be love, joy, peace, and happiness.
This promise kept me sane for many years. I held onto this glimmer of hope until my hands blistered because, without it, I felt like I had no option but to drown in my sorrow. For so many years after losing my parents to death and multiple friends due to petty differences I felt like I was surrounded by a suffocating fog of pain and grief and that my life on this earth would never exist without that fog. I survived many of the darkest days by grasping God’s promise that one day He will wipe away every tear… Even if my life on earth never got any better, at least I could look forward to my life in Heaven where all of this pain wouldn’t exist.
I’m so thankful for this promise from God. It kept me afloat when it seemed like everything around me was sinking and I’m sure that it has done the same for many of you as well.
But when I reached this question today, my answer had a much different focus. Instead of being excited about what God would do for me and the difference that I would feel, I was drawn to verse 3: Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.
God. Will. Live. With. Them.
That is what encourages me. More than anything, I want God to live with me. More than anything, no matter how much we hear about streets of gold and life without pain, I look forward to finally seeing the face of God. One day, He will no longer be just a feeling or a voice, He will physically walk with me like He always intended (Gen. 3:8).
Until then, I will hold onto this promise. Just like holding onto the promise of no more pain to get me through my heartbreak, I hold onto this promise of God’s physical presence to keep me filled while still on this earth.
This side of Heaven, we can walk with God. We can hear Him, we can feel Him, and we can see Him at work around us in countless ways. But this is just a taste of the glory that is to come (Rom. 8:18-19).
I hold onto this promise as desperately as I held on to the other. I grasp it with every ounce of spiritual and physical strength that I have. I have to. My very life depends on it. Without it, I will drift back into the suffocating fog. With it, the fog cannot touch me no matter how thick it becomes (Ps. 139).
Where I was, God’s presence is there, in the past, working everything for good in the present and future (Rom.. 8:28).
Where I am, God’s presence is there because I have been adopted into the family of God (Rom. 8:15.).
And Where I go, God’s presence goes with me because He has promised to never leave me alone (Deut. 31:8).
No matter where you are, what you do, or what you need, the Presence of God fills every gap and meets every need. You may not see it now, but One Day You Will.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed. I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity, 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 away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words[ are faithful and true.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water as a gift to the thirsty from the spring of life (Rev. 21:1-6 HCSB).”