And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, arrayed like a bride adorned for her husband; and then I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “See! The tabernacle of God is among men, and He will live among them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former order of things has passed away.”
The little girl had been sick from such a young age that her earliest memories were of a hospital room. Hers was not an illness which plagued her for weeks or months. For the first six years of her life the family’s main priority was her treatment and finding a way to get her well. She spent not one moment with a doctor or in a hospital without mom being right there with her. For one of them, the pain and discomfort from which she suffered were physical. They kept her trapped in a body that would not let her live as the carefree child she was on the inside. For the other, her pain and discomfort were emotional. Mom’s sorrow would not end as long as her baby was hurting. One day, the cure they had awaited finally surfaced. In only a few short weeks that little girl was healthy and happy. With her physical relief came mom’s emotional relief, and the sorrow disappeared just like that illness.
Our godly sorrow serves a purpose in this world only because this world exists in its current state. Our hearts break for the lost only because there is deception here. Our hearts break for the sick and the poor only because there is disease and poverty here. The world in which we live is clearly not the paradise God originally designed for us to occupy. We need not read much of the Holy Scriptures to see that things here are in disarray. Pain is a part of our process. Although we might not like it, the word shows us over and over how God uses it for our spiritual growth and to the advancement of his kingdom. The promise is not only that God will use our pain here but that one day there will be no use for it at all. All sorrow will end because we will experience only joy in its place. The blow of today’s sorrows is softened because we know that they will end one day and never return.
Sometimes it is difficult to imagine an existence without the things which bring us sorrow in this world. After all, it is all we know. Although it is an amazing thing that God can use these negative experiences and emotions in a positive way to help us grow, we only have use for that here. The promise that sorrow and pain will vanish forever in that moment is also a promise of completion. That is when all things will be made new, and our real eternal existence will be manifest. All of this future hope will become our ‘here and now.” With the extinguishment of sorrow will come a joy like we have never experienced, one which is pure and untainted by the pains we have known. Father, we thank You that You use our pain and sorrow for good in this world, but we give You greater thanks for the promise that one day only joy will remain.