I was reading Christine Sine’s book “The Gift Of Wonder” this morning but had also woken up with the verse “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes” which is the first part of Revelation 21:4
Now this verse has always confused me because I am a crier. I can cry at the drop of the hat. In fact I have just been watching a TED talk about restoring old manuscripts and that made me cry. It is a bit of a family joke about me crying. And it has worried me that I could become a different person when I got to heaven and I have grown to quite like me. But then I read as Christine’s book it starts with the story of Jesus in Mark 10 and Luke 9, in which Jesus talks about welcoming the little children and saying how we need to become like a child and about how God wants us to play.
As I was journaling around this it struck me that in the playground children run and jump and play without fear, but this often leads to falls and tears. There are also the “rules of play” and there is often some bossy kid who makes others cry by assertively enforcing those rules. But if you stand on the sidelines and observe those playing times that are fully entered into, the tears come quickly but then they go just as quickly. The good parent or playgroup monitor wipes away those tears, wipes the hurt better, kisses the hurts and tears away and the child goes back to play again. And if handled properly by the adult they go straight back into the game without fear or without holding back. I believe we cannot fully enter into play and joy and wonder without there being a few tears along the way. That’s all part of it.
As we get older we pick up ideas about tears being wrong, that really we shouldn’t cry, shouldn’t show our emotions. So we learn to stop entering in. Oh my, have we stopped giving God an amazing opportunity to wipe those tears away!!!
God says “in heaven I’ll wipe those tears away”. Well if we are to believe that heaven is a now thing as much as an “after we’re dead thing” then those tears, when we let them come, can be wiped away now.
But also if God is going to wipe our tears away in heaven that means that we are going to have tears in heaven too. If heaven is going to be a place of full joy then I am going to cry. I know I am. Joy makes me cry as much as sadness, anger, grief, etc do.
I used to worry about going to heaven because I thought it might be a bit dull, but now that I believe that I can enter into heaven in full childlikeness, running, jumping, falling, getting hurt, getting up again. So in heaven I might fall. No in fact if I am fully childlike then I will rush headlong into things and will fall. But the exciting thing is that if I am living fully in God’s kingdom, fully in heaven on this earth, then I will fall, will trip up, will not get all the rules of the game fully sorted and will get upset when someone reprimands me on them, but the exciting thing is that God will wrap me in his arms, give me a huge hug, wipe away my tears and then I can go back into the game again.
Those short, sharp, deep, painful tears will be wiped away every time by our loving, caring, protective, always there, parent. Wow, now that was too exciting to keep to myself