Matins Devotion: November 1, 2023
All Saints Day
Ever since the fall into sin, God’s people have had cause to weep. Abraham wept over his wife Sarah as he laid her in a tomb. Joseph wept when he learned about the death of his father. David wept over the child he had conceived with Bathsheba and then later wept over the death of his rebellious son Absalom.
Weeping and sorrow in the face of death is not a lack of trust in God. It’s the confession of the faithful. It’s a confession that we live in a fallen world. That God’s good creation has been subjected to death and corruption.
I remember a few years ago walking into the hospital room to try to bring some comfort to one of my teaching colleagues. Beside the chair where she sat was her young husband—laid out on a hospital bed—virtually every inch of his head covered with bandages. It was a freak accident. A fall. A head injury. And now he was lying here on this bed—no detectable brain activity. And here was his young wife. Left to raise their 6-month-old daughter alone. I sat with this lady and read from Scripture, prayed the Lord’s Prayer, and together we wept.
In this life there is a time to weep. A time to mourn. And yet, thanks be to God, the Christian confession does not simply stop there. One day there will be a time to rejoice. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” One day, God will reach down and wipe away every tear and dry every eye. On that day death will be no more. On that day, a new creation will come down from heaven that will never again experience the corruption of grief, and pain, and heartache.
On that day we will see Jesus. The greater Abraham, the greater Joseph, David’s greater Son. Who knows what it’s like to stand beside the grave of his friend and weep. Who goes into the grave himself. Not so that we will weep for him, but so that he can defeat death for us. So that he can become the firstborn from the dead for us. So that he can promise to raise you and all the dead on the Last Day and give eternal life to you and all who believe in him.
So on this day when we remember all the saints who have gone ahead of us into glory, let your tears wet your cheeks and fall to the ground. This is a good confession. Yet, understand that you do not weep or mourn as those who have no hope. Blessed are you who mourn now—for the day is coming when you shall be comforted. The end of all weeping is near.