Most people can dream of a place no longer scarred by war and hunger, where we are somehow safe and well and at rest.
But there’s more. No more suffering or strife, yes, but also no more sinful thoughts and desires which, according to the Bible, are the source of our present troubles.
What will it be like when people are no longer greedy, self-centred, neglectful or abusive? When everyone without exception is thankful and contributes cheerfully for the common good? When people genuinely work together with respect, even love, sharing knowledge and stewarding resources wisely?
Too good to be true?
The last few pages of Scripture offer a remarkable picture where the risen Lord Jesus has returned in glory and brought evil to an end and God declares He is making ‘all things new’. So creation is more than just fixed, it’s renewed to share its Master’s resurrection.
This world, for now plagued with death, will be filled with heavenly, eternal life. No more crying or mourning. The Almighty wipes the tears from our eyes once and for all. It’s like Jerusalem, often conquered and destroyed but now restored with divine majesty as the home for all peoples and nations under one great King Whose name is redeeming Love.
There’s a river of life flowing through the city, refreshing its inhabitants and watering the tree of life whose leaves bring healing. All human rulers are described bringing their treasures into this city. Try and imagine the combined wealth, not just of monetary reserves but of collective genius, the professors, engineers and artists from every corner of the globe willingly offering their talents! Proper glory to God and rich celebration of all he has given!
All of this, under God’s blessing, never again compromised by things sad or shameful. This is the inheritance promised to Christians, those far from perfect people who nevertheless by grace seek to trust and follow and obey.
In this frequently heartbreaking ‘meantime’ we have to believe there is something of value in our suffering, not least the comfort of His strength and the beauty of empathy and fellowship. We could often feel weary of this life and long for all that has been promised but we must try to finish the ‘race that has been set for us’. To share this message of hope widely in word and action. And naturally do all that we can for the dear ones we’ve been given as companions on the journey.
Finding, like our Master, that somewhere in the middle of it all, comes joy.