Tears, Not Yet Wiped Away
by Debbonnaire Kovacs
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the LORD has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the LORD for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
This coming Sunday is when those churches that follow the lectionary will celebrate All Saints’ Day. For most, the idea is that they embrace the comfort of knowing that their loved ones are in heaven, and are in communion with God as they, on earth, are in communion with God. Some also believe they can be in communion with their lost loved ones, themselves.
For me, this is not as comforting as it might seem to most people. It is, of course, common teaching to those of us who grew up Adventist that our loved ones could not be happy in heaven knowing we are still here, suffering. Watching that suffering, but unable to do anything about it. But for me, there’s more to it than that. The idea that my husband could come and hang around our bedroom, invisible, letting me know he still loves me, (even though I do wish for that, on some level), or that my mother can hear me cry about the things I “was going to” do for her, but didn’t, (even though I do wish I could hear her say she forgives me) just isn’t comforting.
The truth is, I already know they would still love me if they were here. I already know my mother has long since forgiven me for my faults and frailties (which she knew almost better than anyone!) There is even a sense in which I do believe that, their spirit having gone back to God, their love for me is now inside of God’s love, so to speak. Which, in fact, it always was. All our love for anyone comes from God and exists inside God’s perfect love.
And that is comforting. And the passage above is even more so. It is not over. I will see them again.
But. But, but, but. None of that removes any tears. And this week, leading up to the traditional All Saints’ Day, just happens to be the week of Les’ birthday, our anniversary, and my mother’s birthday. And I hurt. That’s my devotional truth for this week.
I hurt. Do you? It’s okay to say so.