Please begin with prayer for an open heart, before you read the passage below. Revelation 21:1-5 - 21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Go to www.cnn.com and scan the first 10-15 headlines that you see. I am writing this on Wednesday and the first 6 headlines relate to the crisis in Syria and show a picture of an explosion. Then the headlines listed relate to the drought, Nazi war crimes, kidnapped girls, the Navy firing on a boat, the Penn State debacle, a billionaire murdering his wife, government fraud, and then maybe the worst of all---politics!
I know that our society is sensationalistic and unfortunately, negative things captivate our attention much more than the positive. The network TV shows seem to require major drama, sex, deceit, etc. to gain ratings, because this is what society craves. Working in ministry has numerous positives, but also some negatives. We are privileged to spend a lot of time with people and learn about their journey, joys, and struggles. At times, the brokenness that we see in the lives we encounter can be overwhelming and weigh on your heart tremendously. I look at the headlines, my life, and the lives around me and say this cannot be it, this cannot be the final word!
Romans 8:22 says that, ‘We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.’ Paul is referring to the fractured nature of everything around us and the longing for restoration, healing, and wholeness that came through Christ our Savior. The text from Revelation paints a picture of life beyond our current existence and gives us hope of what is to come for all those that trust in Christ. We see a new heaven and new earth and a completed relationship with God as we are fully present with Him. There is the promise of no more tears, suffering, death, mourning, or pain, because He has made all things new! Incredible!
We have seen this week in worship, the texts, and the BLOG that we are called to have perspective in suffering and Jesus’ ultimate purpose is salvation today and eternally. It doesn’t mean we won’t suffer---James 1 promises ‘trials of many kinds’, so they are coming. In these trials of many kinds, it’s very appropriate to mourn, be angry, need space, and whatever other healthy outlet we react with. The Christian has something the rest of the world does not have though---hope!! Hope of Christ’s return and an ultimate restoration of heaven, earth, and our bodies. Our call is to carry the hope of Revelation 21 into all the trials we face and know that what we are going through now, is not the final word! We live hope-filled lives, because our God reigns!
How does the Revelation 21 text give you hope when facing trials? What else has helped give you perspective when facing challenges? What would it look like to take steps of faith, trusting in this passage, throughout the trials of every day life?