I used to wonder if heaven could really be better than life on earth. Allow me to clarify.
The Lord has been more than generous to me: I grew up in a wonderful home surrounded by two loving parents. I’ve been afforded countless life-giving and life-changing opportunities. I’ve never really known what it’s like to do without something I needed. I now have a wonderful family of my own.
I could go on, but my point is that I don’t have a lot of first-hand experience of the brokenness this fallen world has to offer. In fact, most of the pain I’ve experienced has been a result of my own sin and foolishness.
But the older I get, the more I realize that life on earth isn’t always as rosy as I once thought it was. Brokenness is real. Pain is real. Suffering is real. Cancer and diseases are real. Addictions are real. Fractured homes and strained relationships are real.
Again, I could go on, but the point is that the older I get, the more aware I’ve become of the fallenness of the world we inhabit–and it’s that awareness that makes passages like today’s increasingly comforting the older I get.
Through Isaiah, God gives a glimpse of a new creation where all wrongs are made right. No more weeping. No more distress. No more death. No more homelessness. No more hunger. Those former things won’t even be remembered or come to mind.
That day is indeed coming, but it’s not here yet. The joy that was set before Jesus came on the far side of the cross (Heb. 12:2). Likewise, the “fullness of joy” (Ps. 16:11) that God has promised to his people will come on the far side of our own seasons of suffering. In this world you will have troubles, but take heart–Jesus has overcome the world (Jn 16:33).