“And God Himself will be there with them; 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 21:3-4)
What an abundance of meditation opportunities is here, in the glorious promise that: “He will wipe away every tear.” Every tear? So many tears have been shed since our infancy from each of us—it’s the way we communicate before we can explain what we require. Is it necessary to count the tears that our kind mothers and even fathers have made to disappear by comforting us and tending to our needs? No, it’s the grownup tears that we shed for countless reasons not always understood even by the weepers. Tears of frustration, disappointment from ourselves, despair when whatever we try doesn’t come to fruition—those non-liquid tears that drip in our hearts that we try to disguise from others and even from ourselves. How will He dry them for us?
The solution is found in the title that His only-begotten Son has shared with us—He told us we should think of the Almighty Lord as Father, His Father and by adoption our Father, as we realize when we pray: “Our Father.” More than that, Jesus instructed us to think of the heavenly Father as “Abba,” or “Daddy,” He who sits on the throne in heaven, Creator of heaven and earth, indeed the entire cosmos, is “Our Father.” How can we consider anything impossible for the Holy Trinity? And what a mystery we are contemplating—God in Trinity whose essence is far beyond human understanding loves us with so great a love that it makes the definition of love transcendent, incomprehensible and unfathomable. We who are parents, companions, siblings and compassionate persons, regardless of any relationship with the one who we see suffering—we are in our own way tear wipers. How much more is the heavenly “Daddy,” if we dare think of the Almighty in that way, capable of wiping away our tears?
In a sense, just the fact of our awareness of being in heaven itself will assuage our misery; for what does it mean “neither shall there be mourning” when our loved ones we miss and grieve for will be there on the other side of death’s doors? We lament out of our spiritual ignorance, like the epileptic’s father who had but a modicum of faith. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face” [I Corinthians 13:12]. And like the consummate parent, our Father will do perfectly what a human parent does with a child who is crying—he distracts the lad or lass with a toy, an object of some sort or just with a hug. Can there be any focus of attention more glorious and wonderful than the illumination on the other side? How better to redirect our focal point than the wonder of “the holy city of Jerusalem” [Revelation 21:10] and the glories revealed to St. John that await us when this age is past? When “the former things have passed away,” what will be remembered worth our recollection? How much does any infant recall from months of gestation within the mother’s womb? He who promised: “Behold, I make all things new,” must include among “all things” us as well. If we consider this life we now experience as a classroom or a laboratory, then the course might be termed “Love 101,” and we are learning what it means to be loved by the ultimate Lover, the tuition being suffering, and graduation the opportunity to respond to love with our own love, a relationship that has no end—only an endless eternal development into an ever more glorious progression in our response, since, as St. Paul taught, then we shall see “face to face,” so that faith will no longer be operative: “Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.” [I Corinthians 13:12]