God Will Wipe Away Every Tear from Our Eyes

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Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4) 

St John Chrysostom comments on how differently God responds to our discomforts and mourning than do our fellow humans: 

23947174222_510850a10f_w“If you tell men your personal misfortunes, if you describe to them in tragic tones the evils which have befallen you, you may find some consolation in your distress, that is, if you think that talking about your troubles will make them evaporate. But if you share with your Master the sufferings you feel in your soul, it is much surer that you will receive comfort and consolation in abundance. People often grow weary of a man who comes to them with his wailing and bitter laments. At times they even push him from their path to get rid of him. But God does not act in this way. He lets the wailing man come to him and even draws him to himself. Even if it takes you all day to share your misfortunes with God, he will love you all the more and will grant your petitions.  

Surely Christ proved this very thing when he said ‘Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Matt 11:29). Now he calls us, let us not fail to heed him.” (ON THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE NATURE OF GOD, p 162) 

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For Chrysostom, human sympathy and empathy for sufferers eventually runs out, but not so with God who is always love and never tires of our approaching Him in lament. Just think about the Psalms, often used in Orthodox worship, which cry out to the Lord: “Lord, I call upon You, hear me!Psalm 102 is a good example. 

Biblical scholar Dale Allison comments on what Christ may have had in mind in calling those who mourn blessed: 

“The key to mourning is probably to be found in the scriptural allusion… [Matt] 5:4 draws upon Isaiah 61:2: ‘to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God: to comfort all who mourn.‘ In the Isaiah passage Israel is oppressed at the hands of its heathen captors; its cities are in ruins; its people know shame and dishonor. So God’s own are on the bottom, their enemies on top. Mourning is heard because the righteous suffer, the wicked prosper, and God has not yet righted the situation (cf. Revelation 6:9-11). It is the same in the Sermon on the Mount. The kingdom has not yet fully come. The saints are reviled and persecuted (Matthew 5:10-12). The meek have not yet inherited the earth (5:5). The righteous still have enemies (5:43-48) who misuse them (5:38-42). In short, God’s will is not yet done on Earth as it is in heaven (6:10), and that can only mean mourning for God’s people. To those who understand the truth about the present age, grief cannot be eliminated.   (THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT, p 47) 

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Grief cannot be eliminated in this world, and there is plenty to lament about the world.  One only has to listen to almost any news broadcast to feel the need to weep for the inhabitants of the world. Yet, all of the sorrows still belong to the world which is constantly changing.  There is hope, though some of that is only in the world to come.  We will be comforted by God Himself in that time which God decides. We won’t simply hear good news, God Himself promises to take away our tears and sorrows. 

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He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken.  (Isaiah 25:8) 

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17)  

“Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be 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 any more, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)

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