“He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken. And it will be said in that day: ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation’” (Isaiah 25:8-9).
Pain and heartache are a part of life. None of us can escape the times of sadness that life often brings. To pretend that because we serve God every waking moment of our lives will be filled with great joy and we will never experience hurt and heartbreak is simply to not live in the reality of life.
As the prophet Isaiah is proclaiming God’s judgment upon the nation of Israel, he was overwhelmed at the thought of other nations overtaking God’s people. He experienced great sadness over this: “Therefore my loins are filled with pain; pangs have taken hold of me, like the pangs of a woman in labor. I was distressed when I heard it; I was dismayed when I saw it. My heart wavered, fearfulness frightened me; the night for which I longed He turned into fear for me” (Isaiah 21:3-4). Here was a faithful servant of God describing to us the incredible pain and heartache he was feeling over what was about to happen to his beloved Israel. He was struggling with pain, fear, and, yes, even doubt!
Can you relate to this? Have you ever struggled with the fact God is bringing everlasting punishment on “good, moral people” who, nevertheless, refuse to obey the gospel of Christ? The Bible states: “…in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)? Do you struggle with doubt trying to understand why God is going to send such people to an everlasting Hell?
Furthermore, have you felt pain as you have seen a brother or sister in Christ fall away from serving Christ and go back into a world? Does it bring you heartache knowing that such will face God’s impending judgment? God’s Word points out: “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26-27).
Like Isaiah, I can relate to struggling with pain, fear, and even doubt as I contemplate God’s impending judgment that is coming upon people I love who have either never obeyed the gospel of Christ or who have fallen away from Christ and turned back to Satan and the world. It is heartbreaking to think on such things. It brings tears to my eyes. However, I cannot hide my head in the sand and pretend that God’s judgments on these matters are not a part of His truth because they are. To deny such is to deny God’s Word and attempt to not live in reality.
How can I handle thinking about these things? As the opening verses above describe, I need to give these matters over to the Lord and “wait for Him” and His salvation. Even though Isaiah struggled with pain, fear, and doubt, he still clung to His faith in God. He looked forward to the day when God would save His people and wipe away the tears from their eyes (Isaiah 25:8-9). I praise God that He has not asked me to be the judge of the world. That is His job and I trust He will do it righteously according to His Word (John 12:48). He asks me to keep my faith in Him and look forward to the day when He will come again bringing salvation and wiping away all my tears!
“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).