God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. (Revelation 21:3-4)

I know of no passage in all of God's Word that brings such comfort to me. So often, generally during a funeral, I have commented that streets of gold and gates of pearl strike no special cord with me. However, I fully understand mourning, crying and pain, so this promise from God resonates loudly in my soul!

This is not to say that I have not known much joy during my years. I certainly have had more than I had any right to expect. Even in these days when life has more than a little discomfort, I still remain full of joy. Still, all about me, I see mourning, crying, and pain. To hear an aged one, with tears, ask, "Why has God not called me home?" or to face a family who have just lost a child, in agony asking, "Why so young?" is heartbreaking. These are the real challenges. Most of the problems I face are of such little importance. Most of my pain is transient and minor. But, facing the true pains of doubt and loss, well these try one's wisdom and faith.

Facing the true pains of doubt and loss try one's wisdom and faith.
There is always the temptation to join Job's friends and seek worldly answers to heavenly questions. We accuse God of so many things with our pat, "It is all in God's plan" list of trite answers to those who are broken. I remember a little book I purchased right after I left college called "1,001 Ready Answers To Religious Questions." There really were 1,001 answers. They may have been to religious questions. However, they were seldom the answers to the real questions. It was one of those books which, much like some sermons, had a text which included the word found in the question, but not the meaning. The best thing Job's friends did for him was when they sat in silence with him in the dust of his own agony and grief. There is a lesson there for all of us.

If heaven truly has golden streets and pearly gates, it will scarcely excite me. But, when I see joy instead of mourning, hear laughter instead of crying, and find no one in pain, I will fall to my face and shout loudly, "Home at last! Thank God, I'm home at last!"