No Tears in Heaven
Readers of this blog know that I have had to deal with the loss of my mother, Carole Lynn Waddington, over the last month or so.Â This past Sunday we held the second of two memorial services in her honor and in each, in slightly different ways, God was glorified, Christ was lifted up, and the Spirit was honored through the proclamation of the Word.Â While my family and our friends mourn the loss of my mom, we focused rather on God's grace and faithfulness.Â And we were reminded that while we walk this vale of tears here below, in the new heavens and the new earth, tears will all be wiped away.Â John tells us in Revelation 21:4 that "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." This morning my heart was broken again.Â I learned that my dear friend of over 35 years, Bruce Barnes, of Oneonta, NY, had gone home to be with the Lord yesterday morning.Â Bruce and his wife Mary Ann had planned to come to my mom's memorial service in Troy, NY on Sunday and I have to admit to being disappointed that they did not show.Â I did not realize then that Bruce was making his final pilgrimage towards his final home with his Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Bruce had known me since about the age of 12 and he could tell you stories about me.Â Sometimes he did share some of them, but most of the time he was gracious and refrained.Â Bruce had the misfortune of having to share my bedroom with me whenever he came to visit his future wife. Bruce and Mary Ann never had children of their own.Â But they have been parents to many young people through the years.Â Bruce was no erudite theologian.Â But a practical Christian he most certainly was.Â And he was concerned with practical Christian outreach up till the last days of his life. Bruce and Mary Ann are my daughter Carolynne's godparents.Â We don't usually have such things in Presbyterian circles, but they have been more like family to me than some who are related by blood.Â Our bond was more than just about memories.Â We have been brothers and sisters in Christ.Â And it is this bond which brings me comfort. On this side of the grave death intrudes its ugly face.Â Let's not beautify it.Â Let's not sugar coat it either.Â Death came by sin (Romans 5).Â And even the Christian wrestles with being torn from friends and loved ones.Â Christians shed many tears now.Â But the day is coming as the passage already cited notes when tears will vanish away.Â Pain, heartache, and separation will be no more.Â Ah, I long for that day! But note well this fact:Â Death has been defeated.Â It does not have the last word.Â It may have the penultimate word, but not the last one!Â Aside from Christians alive at the time of our Lord's return, we will all have to face death.Â Christ by his resurrection has gone through death and come out the other side.Â He has conquered death.Â Make no mistake about it.Â I have not conquered death.Â However my Lord has. So I offer this tribute to my mother and my friend.Â Together they are now bowing before the throne of God and the Lamb casting their crowns.Â Bruce and Mom are where I want to be.Â No, I have no death wish.Â But no true Christian can long stay away from home.Â Today there are plenty of tears down here.Â In heaven that will all be a faint memory. I close with these words from a well known southern gospel song:
1. No tears in heaven, no sorrows given. All will be glory in that land; There'll be no sadness, all will be gladness, When we shall join that happy band. CHORUS: No tears (in heaven fair) No tears, no tears up there, Sorrow and pain will all have flown; No tears (in heaven fair) No tears, no tears up there; No tears in heaven will be known. 2. Glory is waiting, waiting up yonder, Where we shall spend an endless day; There with our Savior, we'll be forever, Where no more sorrow can dismay. 3. Some morning yonder, we'll cease to ponder O'er things this life has brought to view; All will be clearer, loved ones be dearer In heav'n where all will be made new.