HOPE IS A CRUCIAL BIBLICAL VIRTUE. It empowers us to endure suffering. It equips us to defer gratification. The hope of a college diploma motivates perseverance through four years of hard work despite no money. Without hope people will not invest, but hope for a better tomorrow motivates savings and investment. For Christians, hope in eternal reward motivates perseverance through temptation and trial (Rom. 5:1-5). You can’t get far in the Christian life without it. That is why Paul lists it as one of the three virtues that remain for eternity. “So now faith, hope, and love abide, but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13)
Three times the Bible tells us God will “wipe away every tear from our eyes.” Here is one of hope’s strong anchors. Whenever the Bible repeats something three times it is for emphasis. It is like a spiritual exclamation mark. It says, this subject is important: pay attention! Because God is totally sovereign, we can trust repetitions when we see them. There are no accidents in scripture. The Holy Spirit has explicitly and purposefully designed and placed them for emphasis.
The first time it occurs is in Isaiah 25. “He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 25:8).
It occurs a second time in Revelation chapter 7. “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17).
The third occurence is in the second to the last chapter of Revelation. “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.” (Revelation 21:4).
Oh brothers and sisters, when the road of life gets bumpy, and tears well up, let us cling to this glorious promise. The day is coming when the road will be eternally smooth, and God will fulfill his promise: he will wipe every tear away. God will replace them with “love that surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:19); “joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8); and the “peace of God that surpasses understanding” (Phil. 4:7).
Until then we persevere in steadfast hope.
As always you comments and observations are appreciated.