I am writing tonight near the beautiful Southern Adventist University campus near Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away’ ” ( Revelation 21:4, NKJV).
As I read the key verse in this week’s SS lesson, I pause and ask myself, who will wipe the tears from God’s eyes? People say there will be no crying in heaven, but obviously there is, or God would not have to wipe tears from our eyes. God created us with emotions, and He will not turn us into hard-hearted robots, when we see that some have chosen to be lost after so great a price was paid for their salvation.
Yes, there will be tears in heaven, but God Himself will wipe those tears away. Again, my question, who will wipe the tears from God’s eyes? If you are lost, do you believe God will turn Himself into a hard-hearted robot and just forget about you? No way! God says, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3. To me, everlasting means everlasting.
While God’s love is indeed everlasting, some have thought that meant they could get away with anything, and God will still love them. While that is true, unconditional love does not mean unconditional salvation. You see, I can be lost and go to hell, and God will still love me! Which leads me back to my question once more. Who will wipe the tears from God’s eyes? In Isaiah 49:15 NLT God asks, “Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!” God is not simply making the comparison to a newborn baby. The word “nursing” is present tense. God is saying it would be harder for Him to ever forget you, than it would be for a mother to forget her child while she is nursing it! This is impossible!
Friends, if I were lost, that would be sad for me. However as sad as that would be, my sadness would not last forever. I would be destroyed by hell fire and then would be no more. I would not be missing God for all eternity. But if I were lost, would He be missing me? Would there always be an empty place in God’s heart?
Imagine the prodigal son’s father looking out from the front porch for a trace of his wayward son somewhere off in the distance. Looking day after day, year after year for just a glimmer of hope. Then one day he hears that his son has died while roaming. He won’t be coming home. Do you think that Father who for years watched from his front porch, will no longer pause as he looks out his window into the hills off in the distance?
In Hosea 11:8, After years and years of Ephraim’s rebellion and idolatry, God wrestles with His own emotions, as He cries, “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?”
Revelations 6 finishes with the 6th seal and asks the question who will be able to stand when Jesus comes, and not ask for the rocks and stones to fall on them? Revelation 7 answers that question, that it will be those who are sealed with the character of God. Revelation 7 goes on to describe the various tribes or characteristics that will be sealed. The tribe of Ephraim is not mentioned. Ephraim is not among the saved.
Revelations 8:1 says that after the sealing, there is silence in heaven for the space of half an hour. Many scholars agree this half hour is one week in Bible prophecy, when heaven is emptied of angels as they attend the Son of God as He returns. Without disputing that, I wonder, could the silence be God pausing, just asking Himself if there was anything else He could have done to save Ephraim? In Isaiah 5:3-4 Could God have been referencing a future judgment when He cried, ”O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?”
Of course God has done all He can do! Still, doesn’t a parent in those situations pause to ask themselves if there was any other way a wayward child could be saved, even when reason tells them everything that could have been done has already been done? Our God is a God of principle, but He also created us in His image with emotions. Do you believe God in His infinite wisdom, knowing that all has been done, will just wipe His hands clean of the lost? My God may be a God of infinite wisdom and principle, but He also has an extremely huge heart! No parent has ever loved with as much passion and emotion as my heavenly Father has loved you! And if there has ever been a parent, who has lost a child, and asked themselves what more they could have done and even second-guessed themselves, it would be my heavenly Father!
Does my heavenly Father err? No! Has He already done all that could possibly be done? Yes! Do I still think He may pause for a moment, before declaring the doom of the lost, to search the depths of his infinitely wise brain just one more time, to see if He can come up with just one more idea? Yes I do! Will He find one? No. Everything has been done.
In Genesis 44 Judah tells the Egyptian ruler, not knowing it was Joseph, about how he broke his father’s heart when his father lost his son. He goes on to explain the heartbreak it would bring his father if Benjamin does not return home. Judah then goes on to convey that he will not break his father’s heart again. Judah would rather rot in prison than break his father’s heart.
Friend! Don’t break my Father’s heart! Yes, you may be able to forget Him but He will never be able to forget you! Please! Be there for my Father! He loves you so much! Be there on that day for my Father. If you choose not to be there, who will wipe the tears from His eyes? Who will be there to put their hands on His shoulder as He peers from His front porch off into the distant hills, and remind Him, no, you aren’t coming home – ever?
I have broken my Father’s heart so many times already, but I, like Judah, refuse to break His heart like that again. I want to be there, not just for myself but for my Father! Will you be there too? If not, who will wipe the tears from God’s eyes?
Be there. Please.
You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.