“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.” ‭Revelation‬ ‭21‬:‭4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We assume several phrases are in the Bible, but they aren’t.
God helps those who help themselves.
Cleanliness is next to godliness.
This, too, will pass.

All of these have elements of truth and value but are not actually in Scripture. 

But here’s one that is not only NOT in the Bible, it is very disheartening. 

Everything happens for a reason.

We think it is because of this verse:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

But Paul is not promising that all that happens in our life is orchestrated by God for our good, but rather that God is able to bring good out of all the things that happen in our lives. Even the bad. 

In her book, “Everything happens for a reason – And other lies I’ve loved,” Kate Bowler walks us through the shattering pain she experienced after her cancer diagnosis. She lists a few things to never say to someone who is experiencing great loss. Things like “Well at least…,” “God needed an angel,” and, of course, “everything happens for a reason.”  

Sometimes life is painful. Full of loss. Seasons of grief. And even dark nights of the soul. 

John had lived that. 

His brother had been martyred. Church members had been killed. He himself had been persecuted, imprisoned and left to rot in a penal colony. And when Jesus shows up with the revelation, it is never “everything happens for a reason.” But rather something different. 

“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.” Revelation‬ ‭21‬:‭4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

One day, his Lord, his Savior, his friend, will wipe every tear from his eyes. No more crying or pain. That season of life has passed away. Everything will be made right. Everything will be redeemed. 

November 14, 2019, will forever be marked in the minds of people from our community. It was the day one of our high schools experienced a school shooting. I was sitting at breakfast with a couple when I got the call. Six students had been shot. Two were from our church. I raced to the hospital only to discover while one of our kids would make it… the other would not. Gracie was gone. I sat in the hospital room with her family still in shock. I was too. Amidst the screams and tears and pain, no summing things up with quick cliches would help. I knew “at least she lived a full life” or “everything happens for a reason” would comfort any of us. But something Gracie’s mom said brought hope to us all. 

“The only thing giving me comfort is knowing Jesus is holding Gracie with one arm and me with the other.”  

The truth that helped them, the truth that comforted me, the truth that brought peace to John, was not “Everything happens for a reason” but “everything can be redeemed.”

And one day, it will be.  

One day our Lord, and Savior and friend will wipe every tear from our eyes. All of the pain from cancer to dementia, from abuse to shootings, from war to famine, all of it will be redeemed. It will be made whole. It will be removed, renewed and redeemed. 

Today’s prayer: Jesus, thank you that you are redeeming all things. 

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