One of the most wonderful promises in the Bible is found here. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4)
No more death, no more sorrow, no more crying. It’s an existence that we, in world that knows so much death, sorrow, and crying, cannot really fathom or understand. And yet it’s a promise of God to us, and, really, the consummation of all our hopes as believers in Jesus.
But there remains one part that’s a little muddy, the part that starts the verse: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Tears in their eyes? They are in heaven, now, or at least the new earth, right? Sin, evil, suffering, death—its all gone? Right? Well, then, why the tears?
What has just happened? The lost, “everyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). How many millions, perhaps billons, including loved ones (parents, children, siblings, grandparents, friends) will have just been destroyed before the eyes of the saved? Gone, forever, as if they had never been. However merciful, however just, the punishment is, still, God’s “strange act” (Isaiah 28:21).
No wonder, then, the tears? How could the save not be sobbing, not with what has just happened, what they have just, themselves, witnessed? Yes, they will had a thousand years to review the books; and they will even reign as priests (Revelation 20:6) and as judges (Revelation 20:4), even of angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).
But. Still. How would it not hurt? How could we, knowing our own unworthiness, and the amazing grace that spared us from their exact end—how could we not weep, deeply in the gut, at the demise of so many who were offered the same grace that saved us but who rejected it?
So, yes, there will be tears in heaven, but God Himself will wipe them away from our eyes . . .. and then the promise of no more pain, sorrow, and death.