When We Know Who Wins

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Revelation 21:4

My supervisor is a huge fan of a certain college basketball team. This year, they won the national championship, so another coworker texted him congratulations. The only problem was my boss hadn’t yet had a chance to watch the final game! He was frustrated, he said, knowing the outcome beforehand. But, he admitted, at least when he watched the game he wasn’t nervous when the score stayed close to the end. He knew who won!

We never really know what tomorrow will hold. Some days can feel mundane and tedious, while other days are filled with joy. Still other times, life can be grueling, agonizing even, for long periods of time.

But despite life’s unpredictable ups and downs, we can still be securely grounded in God’s peace. Because, like my supervisor, we know the end of the story. We know who “wins.”

Revelation, the Bible’s final book, lifts the curtain on that spectacular finale. After the final defeat of death and evil (20:10, 14), John describes a beautiful victory scene (21:1–3) where God makes His home with His people (v. 3) and wipes “every tear from their eyes” in a world with “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (v. 4).

On difficult days, we can cling to this promise. No more loss or weeping. No more what-ifs or broken hearts. Instead, we’ll spend eternity together with our Savior. What a glorious celebration that will be!

How can the hope of heaven give you strength? How might your favorite “happily ever after” story echo Revelation 21?

One day God will soothe every hurt, heal every wound, and wipe away every tear.

INSIGHT

If we’re not careful, our concept of heaven can be cartoonish. We might picture clouds and harps and sweet-looking cherub figures. This isn’t the idea Revelation presents. The clouds John describes in Revelation are associated with judgment and great violence (10:1; 14:14–16). The harp-like “music” heard in chapter 14 is like the sound “of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder” (v. 2). And the angelic beings appear absolutely terrifying (14:6–20). Yet here in chapter 21 we read one of the most comforting passages ever written. And the biggest comfort is that “God’s dwelling place is now among the people” (v. 3). We don’t know exactly how this works, but when Jesus Himself tells us “I am making everything new!” (v. 5), we know it will be grand. This old world is described as “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Why would God’s new heaven and earth be less so?

Tim Gustafson

By |2019-09-09T12:14:51-05:00September 9th, 2019|