After many years, the scene remains a great source of encouragement to me. I don’t remember what I was praying about or studying at the time, nor do I remember my own emotional state. I recall only that suddenly before me I saw God the Father seated upon His throne. I was in Heaven.
On His right side shelves adorned with ornate carvings at each corner stood as tall and magnificent as would be seen in any palace. Their end exceeded my line of sight. And on those shelves were bottles – yes, bottles – more than I could count.
They were beautiful, elaborately designed in every deep, rich color imaginable. The finest hand crafted stained glass windows in the world would appear faded and drab in comparison. Some of them had jewels attached, some were adorned with gold chains wrapped around their rounded bottoms or at the base of their long, cylindrical necks. And they were of every size – some very small, some very large, and some of every size in between.
“How odd,” I remember thinking, “God has a room He decorates with bottles, of all things.” I wondered if these bottles were somehow designed or crafted by His children. If He displays our handiwork like we do that of our own to assure them they did a good job and we are proud.
I wasn’t exactly right, but I was close.
Close to the throne on the left side, I would estimate only six to eight feet away, was a pool with a softly flowing current. My first thought was the relaxing lazy river rides at so many water parks. It was like a stream or slow flowing river, but in the floor of the throne room. The water was crystal clear. And like the shelves, this pool appeared endless. I imagined it must extend throughout all of Heaven itself.
Then I noticed the people. An extraordinarily long line of people. People young and people old. People fat and people thin. People from all around the world talking one with another as they waited their turn with Father. And you don’t want to miss what happened next.
I watched those folks one by one step up to the throne. Very close they came, looking God right in the eye. What did He do? God actually reached out and hugged every single one of them. He pulled each one close and held them as though He had waited for them a very long time.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15
They would weep – tears of relief, joy, and gratitude no doubt. As the embrace ended and they stood looking at Him once again, the most incredible thing took place.
The angel approached with a bottle in his hands and stood next to Father. I somehow knew the angel didn’t just randomly choose a bottle, but the one he brought forward was the one that belonged to the person now standing before God. I watched God reach out with both His hands and touch each person’s eyes. He then took the bottle from the angel, removed the ornate top, turned it upside down and poured its contents on the feet of that person.
The watery contents splashed over and around their feet and creating a puddle. In comparison to the bottles it was poured from, some were small, but some so large it appeared the very throne of God would certainly sink into the lake forming at its base. That wet patch then developed into a crystal clear water-filled path that led to the main pool. The person waded barefoot along the path to where the water ran gently around their feet and down a few steps into the lazy river. They travelled down the moving water to wherever this endless flow took them far beyond my scope of vision.
I saw so many people in that pool. Some standing to laugh and talk with passers-by, others jumping and dancing and rejoicing; still others just laying atop the water floating peacefully downstream.
As if noticing me for the first time, the angel looked at me as he headed to the throne with yet another bottle in his hands. Obviously aware of my wonder, he said simply, “Tear bottles.” Then it was gone. I was home again. Or awake. Or alert. Or whatever.
You have kept record of my days of wandering. You have stored my tears in your bottle and counted each of them. Psalm 56:8 CEV
They were not tears shed of anger or greed or not having our own way. They are tears shed because of legitimate sorrow and heartbreak, and tears shed on behalf of others. This is why the bottles were different sizes. Some of us suffer more than others. Some of us carry more of a burden for the lost and for the kingdom of God than do others. But all were rewarded and healed of the wounds.
And all were reminded there will be no more tears, ever.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Revelation 7:17
To make that promise sure, God reached over with His own hands and removed their tear ducts (okay, I’m taking some liberty here – but we won’t need tear ducts in heaven), thereby drying all their tears. Then He poured those tears out to be remembered no more, bringing to pass this promise:
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Psalm 126:5
I wish many times and again that I could describe it as I still see it. To explain the sheer magnitude of the love when God reached forward to hug each person. One by one, He took time for them, not rushing them along so He could hurry and get to the end of line. On the contrary. It was though He held each one until every iota of their pain was obliterated. Then, the happiness on each face as they joined the others in the pool. I can scarcely maintain composure even now just to write about it. I am so happy for everyone there. And knowing I’ll be there, too – indescribable joy.
Sometimes we deal with intense grief and sorrow. Most every day we deal with some level of disappointment about something. But soon that is all going to be put behind us never to be thought about again. How God will accomplish this only He knows. All we need to know is that He is going to.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4
Hopefully I’ll see you there. We’ll enjoy a dip in the pool together.
Won’t it be wonderful there? Having no burdens to bear.
Joyously singing with heart bells all ringing. O, won’t it be wonderful there?
James Rowe and Homer F. Morris, 1930
Till next time,