The Tables Will Be Turned

Michael Beck

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

Lazarus, the beggar, died at the rich man’s gate – most likely from starvation. The rich man died also, perhaps from overeating since he “fared sumptuously every day.” The poor man was carried by angels into paradise; the body of the rich man went into the grave but his eternal soul went into the lowest hell. When the rich man lifted up his eyes in hell and saw the comforts Lazarus was now receiving in Abraham’s bosom, the roles were suddenly reversed and he became the beggar, pleading for a drop of water to alleviate his torment. But scripture would now be fulfilled in his life: “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.” (Proverbs 21:13) Abraham answered: “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” (Luke 16:25)

The “good things” in this life are fleeting. Likewise, the sufferings and deprivations of this life will soon be replaced by an eternity of comfort, glory, and bliss. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17) When it came to the things of this world, Jesus had clear words to both the “haves” and the “have nots.”

“Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:20-26)

There are those who mourn over their lack of this life’s good things. Their distress and humiliation over being in want works in them envy, hatred, sorrow, and strife. But what does it profit a man if he has gained the whole world and lost his soul? Isn’t it better to have nothing in this life, and possess life eternal with God? There are those whose “eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.” (Psalm 73:7) But their end will not be blessed, for God has “set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.” (Psalm 73:18,19)

The tables will be turned. No amount of “sunshine” in this life will comfort those consigned to utter and eternal darkness. While every dark day that the righteous spend in this short life, cut off from the “good” which the wicked now enjoy, will be more than made up for by everlasting joy and comfort in the life to come.

There will be no weeping in heaven. There will be no laughter in hell.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.