Matters of Faith: Making Old Things New


By Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv


Scripture Revelations 21:4 (NKJV)

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  


This week has been one of grief and mourning for my family and I. “T,” the mother of my cousin’s children, has become a child of eternity and is no longer among us. The range of emotions that I experienced when I got the word, even though I visited with her that day and was with the family when they spoke with the attending physician as he shared with us the imminence of the situation, was almost overwhelming. I was reminded of the time that my own mother died. It was a surreal event and I just knew I would wake and everything would be normal again. That never happened. I was in denial. Not only did I not want to believe that my mother had died, I tried desperately to avoid the reality of the loss. I remember thinking, “This isn’t happening. Mommy will come home from the hospital.” It never happened.


It was a devastating time, not for some of my family, but all of my family. My Dad did something I had never see him do before; he cried! My sister, who is the youngest and the only girl, asked a chilling question; “What’s going to happen to us?” It was chilling but appropriate coming from a 12 year-old with three brothers, ages 14, 15 and 18. What would happen to this young family? I recalled the reassuring words from a loving father when he sad, “We’re a family. We are going to stay together!” I must confess, I felt more secure at that moment than I had felt about anything in my life up to that point. I felt that I had nothing to fear because my father was going to see that we were going to be together as a family, and we were going to be fine.


When our heavenly Father speaks, we’d better be listening. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Without a doubt, the Lord knows what you’re going through. He knows where He is taking you, and how you are going to get there. Sometimes it’s through grief and sorrow.    


In the text that precedes the verse that I am referencing for this article, John the revelator records what he saw and describes it as a new heaven and a new earth, a serene place that has no more sea. He also witnesses the holy city descending out of heaven like a bride adorned for her husband. This future earth and city are the dwelling places for those who lived and trusted in Christ for their salvation. The old becomes new.


On the evening of T’s transition from time to eternity, I thought about her children and couldn’t help but ponder a similar question that my sister asked my father, “What’s going to happen to them?” I felt reassured because her children are not as young as we were. Two are gainfully employed and adults themselves; the younger two are in college, and most certainly headed in the right direction. Those reassuring words of my father began to project themselves on the motion picture screen of my mind and I felt a wave of peace fill my heart. The old had become new. When I read the words that John wrote, I was completely at peace with her children’s future. The old shall become new because “He shall wipe away every tear from their eye.”


What John saw and wrote about is the Word that brings good things to life and that transforms even the worst of sinners into kingdom dwellers. He wrote about that which makes old things new. “T” may be gone from the land of the living, but she has been transformed from the old into something new. Sadness will turn to joy, grief will change to laughter as He wipes their tear-filled eyes in that place where there is no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying and no more pain. Those former things will have passed away, and the old will have become new.    


Be Blessed.


Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv is President/CEO of The JLR Company, and an associate minister at both Goodwill and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio (internet), Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM., or by phone at 646-226-1448.  


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