This morning we sang “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” a collection of phrases from Revelation assembled by Cam Huxford. Annie and I both love the song, partially because it expresses the message of the book so simply and partially because it declares hope we so desperately need. As we sang the chorus, I thought about the words and the verse they come from:
“Wipe away every tear from our eyes; death will be no more!”
“[God] 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
It’s a beautiful song for those in pain or experiencing loss. Thank you Cam!
But what about those who can’t stop smiling? Who’ve had a great week? Who are glad and grateful? What might this song mean in such seasons?
I realized, singing this song, that we must live in this age with an underlying sorrow. In 2 Corinthians, Paul calls Christians “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” This is exactly what we should expect from those who have been commanded to “weep with those who weep,” considering the amount and degree of grief in our world. Hunger and homelessness alone give us more than enough reason to cry out, “Wipe away every tear from our eyes!” Given the abuse, sickness, injustice, and the rest of the suffering in our world, anyone aiming to follow Christ will quickly become “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” as he was.
This is not to say that Christians should be gloomy. Perhaps our enduring, often hidden sadness should be similar to our underlying gladness. It may not manifest in all circumstances, but it is deeply rooted in our global and spiritual reality. If these lyrics don’t awaken longing in our hearts, we may be negligently unaware of our fellow humans and Christians.
Weeping with those who weep in a hurting world does not preclude meals with good friends or deep belly laughs, but it does require a certain degree of awareness, compassion, and action.
1. Don’t shy away from friends who are in too much of a mess to “solve.” Don’t be afraid to bless them with your loving presence, even if you don’t know what else you could possibly do or say (compassion literally means “suffer with”).
2. Look for an opportunity to minister to and learn from people who are in harder circumstances than you, whether it’s volunteering with a local organization or planning for a short-term mission trip.
3. Discipline yourself to pray for those in need, even in sunny seasons of your own life.
“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.’ And he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.'” -Revelation 21:5-6