Absence of Pain, Presence of God

Rebecca Van Noord

Ezekiel 17:1–18:32; Revelation 7:9–8:13; Job 34:16–30

When life is difficult, we often take refuge in knowing there’s a life to come—one in which we’ll be free from pain and the worries of this world. The thought brings us comfort. During the difficult times, the life to come might even be more appealing than the present.

Revelation shows us a picture of what new life for those redeemed by Christ will look like: “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Because of this, they are before the throne of God, and they serve him day and night in his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will not be hungry any longer or be thirsty any longer, nor will the sun ever beat down on them, nor any heat” (Rev 7:14–16).

In Revelation the life to come appears as a shelter from all the traumatic and stressful things afflicting the first-century church—hunger, thirst, and heat. Yet we shouldn’t simply define this new life as a time when we’ll be free from the stress and pain of this world.

This new life is defined by God’s presence. The sacrifice of the Lamb has made life with God possible again. If we are clothed in His righteousness, we can stand before the throne of God. Revelation illustrates what our relationship with God is and is destined to be. We will serve Him day and night—as we were created to do—and He will shelter us. The Lamb will shelter and shepherd us, leading us to “springs of living waters” (Rev 7:17).

When we long for relief, we might be yearning for a renewed sense of God’s presence among us. We long for His presence because it is free from difficulty and filled with His incredible love.

What are you truly longing for?

This article was originally posted in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.