‘And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.’ Revelation 7:17
Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 6:25–7:5
How numerous are the tears of unbelief! We manufacture troubles for ourselves by anticipating future ills which may never come, or which, if they do come, may be like the clouds, all ‘big with mercy,’ and ‘break with blessings on our head.’ We get supposing what we should do if such-and-such a thing occurred, which thing God has determined never shall occur. We imagine ourselves in positions where providence never intends to place us, and so we feel a thousand trials in fearing one. That bottle, I say, ought never to carry within it a tear from a believer’s eyes, and yet it has had whole floods poured into it. O the wickedness of mistrust of God, and the bitterness with which that distrust is made to curse itself. Unbelief makes a rod for its own back; distrust of God is its own punishment; it brings such want of rest, such care, such tribulation of spirit into the mind, that he who loves himself and loves pleasure, had better seek to walk by faith and not by sight. Nor must I forget the scalding drops of anger against our fellow-men, and of petulance and irritation, because we cannot have our way with them; these are black and horrid damps, as noxious as the vaults of Tophet. May we ever be saved from such unholy tears. Sometimes, too, there are streams which arise from depressed spirits, spirits desponding because we have neglected the means of grace and the God of grace. The consolations of God are small with us because we have been seldom in secret prayer; we have lived at a distance from the Most High, and we have fallen into a melancholy state of mind. I thank God that there shall never come another tear from our eyes into that bottle when eternal love shall take us up with Jesus in his kingdom.
For meditation: There is a time to weep (Ecclesiastes 3:4); Jesus wept (Luke 19:41; John 11:35). But there are other times when it is inappropriate (Numbers 11:4,10,13,18–20; Nehemiah 8:9–10; Mark 5:38–39; John 20:15–16; Acts 21:13; Revelation 5:4–5).
Sermon no. 643
6 August (1865)