In the wake of my devastating miscarriage a few months ago, I have spent a large amount of time meditating on Revelation 21:1-6. John writes,
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 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.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new’” Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ And he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.’”
What a glorious, precious, life-giving hope this Word is. I don’t know what type of grief you may be experiencing right now. Like me, maybe it’s the loss of a baby in your womb. Or maybe it’s not a literal death, but the metaphorical death of a relationship or a dream you’ve had for years. Though our circumstances differ, we are all experiencing loss to some degree.
Regardless of the specifics, I know one thing that’s true about all of our varying manifestations of grief: it will end.
No more tears.
No more mourning.
No more pain in any capacity.
The death of death itself!
And all things MADE NEW—
This is what our great and holy God has spoken as our future reality.
When we meditate on the thought of eternally being in Christ’s presence face to face, we can see how thin the space actually is between that reality and our present one. We are but one breath away from crossing that space.
When we reflect on this life, a curious longing for wholeness stirs inside each one of us—a longing for rest from this weary world, a longing for our true home.
And at the same time, each breath we take reminds us that if God has given us air in our lungs, then he also has a reason for giving it.
In his parting words to his disciples—known as the Great Commission—Jesus instructs, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20a)
How do we carry out the call God has placed on our lives amidst deep sorrow? How do we endure suffering in this lifetime and yet use those circumstances to point others towards the ultimate suffering Christ willingly endured on our behalf? How do we keep our minds set on eternity in his presence while also keeping our hands and feet moving to serve and engage those who do not yet know him?
We focus on what he left his disciples with before he himself ascended into eternal glory: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b).
The last words I say to my children every night are: “Jesus is with you.” Christ’s promise above is the reason why.
If you remember anything today, dear sister in Christ, let it be this: Jesus is with you.
1. Jesus is with you.
Jesus. The Son of the Living God, who is before all things and in whom all things hold together; the one in whom the fullness of God was pleased to dwell (Colossians 1:17,19). The one who is called “Immanuel,” literally meaning “God with us” (Matthew 1:23)—this is who is with you. Not just a powerful, reputable leader who did some cool stuff a long time ago. No, THE Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Jesus is with you.
Is. As in, presently. Right now. Not just when you feel his nearness. Not just when you’re “good” or “nice.” Even when you doubt it. He is with you.
3. Jesus is with you.
With you. Not merely above you. Not far removed in a state of pious deity. Not even simply walking beside you (although, that’s still a comforting image at times). But he is with you so intimately that by sending the Holy Spirit he actually resides in you!
4. Jesus is with you.
Yep, you. With all your fears and wrestling and striving and worrying and exhaustion and disobedience and sin-stained motives. You. And me. Wow. He’s with us!
The truth which anchors our weary hearts in times of suffering is believing that the vision John described seeing in Revelation is more than a dream, but reality. Our hope is trusting that a new earth is our actual, coming future—all things renewed, refined, and redeemed. And the best part of the deal is that God will dwell with man face to face once again as he did in Eden at the dawn of creation.
As I’ve meditated on this passage in Revelation 21, I became curious about the next chapter of the book, which so happens to be the last chapter in the whole Bible. How does it end?
“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (Revelation 22:21).
Oh, friend, did you catch it? Do you see the beauty?
He left us with his grace.
Empowered by this very grace, may we endure hardship with hope until the day of redemption.
Jesus is with us.
Read, Reflect, and Respond
Revelation 21:1-6, Matthew 28:18-20, Colossians 3:17-19, Revelation 22:21
I pray the reminder that Jesus is with us has been an encouragement to you today. Over the next week or so, I invite you to review the passages of Scripture above, meditating on who God is. As you read through these verses, consider the questions below.
- Does the text reveal anything about God? What are some aspects of his character that you notice? Of those characteristics, which resonate with you most in your current season of grief or loneliness? Why do you think that is?
- Does the text say anything about what God has done? Look for what God has done, is doing, and will do.
- Does the text say anything to you? How are you to live in light of who God is and what he has done? Are there commands to obey? How does the text encourage you?
Consider carving out time to journal your answers, or to even copy these passages of God’s Word down on paper. Writing the Word is an exercise that can be extremely beneficial when processing your emotions. Then, respond in prayer, thanking the Lord for who he is, what he has done, and how he remains faithful with you today, regardless of your circumstances. Ask him to fill you with a greater measure of grace to endure suffering with hope as you look towards eternity in his presence.
Photo credit: Logan Glennie
Ashley Setterlind is a pastor’s wife, mama to two on earth + one in heaven, writer, and worship leader. She is passionate about encouraging other women to be deeply rooted in Christ and abounding in thanksgiving for the glory of God alone. New books, naps, and Chick-fil-A are her love languages. To connect with her, follow @ashleysetterlind on Instagram, or read her blog at http://www.ashleysetterlind.com.