I was doing some reading when I came across this statement:
A great Orthodox theologian once said that we do not believe in a God who will show us how all of the pieces of the puzzle fit together in the end. We believe in a God who will wipe away every tear from every eye.
Now I am not sure who the theologian was, nor the site where I found that quote. But it speaks to me. So often in the course of ministry we get asked the question “why?” We get asked “if God is good, why do bad things happen?” And we try to answer, often using Systematic Theology, which is a wonderful tool, but doesn’t really address the immediate need. Or we resort to the pithy statements that people make to comfort someone…statements like
“On this side of eternity we only see the hanging threads and knots, but on the other side we will see the great tapestry God is weaving.” And even though I’m sure I’ve said some version of this, I pretty much cannot stand it.
When someone is hurting and saying “why do bad things happen?” they are really asking “what is going on?” “Where is God in all of this?” And we actually have answers, some of which a hurting person is not ready to hear. But one thing they are always ready to hear is this. God loves you and wants to comfort you. A human may have hurt you; the fallen, sinful world might have hurt you. You might have hurt yourself. But God is. And God loves you. And God will wipe away every tear. That is one of His promises.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4