Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

John’s jubilee towards the end of his book of Revelation is famous and source of comfort for the tormented. Heaven is a good place. God’s presence, His overwhelming joy and peace and the absence of human sorrow and pain is something to look forward to.

However, does this mean that there is absolutely no pain in heaven? What about God’s pain of losing His creatures due to their free will? Since we don’t have to choose Him (God being no dictator) we can choose not to love Him.

Not choosing God harvests a world of pain; both parties suffer for it – God and His estranged creatures. And most likely, God’s parental pain somehow factors in. I don’t think Heaven is oblivious to what is going on in His heart; in fact, don’t we share both His joy and pain, especially as we get closer to Him? I believe we do, and I’m also convinced Heaven would be one-dimensional if we had it any other way. There is more depth to our joy as we embrace the undesirable feeling of sadness.

My husband Bill and I cried more than one tear when we lost our cat Misty. We had her going on 15 years. She came to us when she was a kitten and left her paw prints permanently in our hearts.

Obviously not everybody has a pet. The worst part of being in pain is thinking to be alone in this. That, quite frankly, is a lie. Even if (hypothetically speaking) nobody should be able to empathize with what you are going through, God certainly can.

Nonetheless, the reality is: people can usually relate. We don’t have to go very far to find out that someone else has dealt with some kind of grief. When pain bears the fruit of empathy it will create community. If nothing makes sense in pain, this always will: Your pain will equip you to be the best friend you can be to the person next to you who is facing some major challenges.

We are made for one another. God has created us not only to beat loneliness but to make life a whole lot richer.

Here it is, plain and simple written in the skies: Money does not make us rich. Relationships do!

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