“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:1-5
I would like to confess once and for all that I am the person who reads the last sentence of a book before I even read the first. I know it’s a terrible habit, one that probably takes most of the suspenseful fun out of a new novel, but there’s something in me that just has to know how things turn out. Sometimes I’ll make it through the first chapter, occasionally even the first half, but I always end up sneaking a peek. It’s just too tempting!
It’s a fairly harmless vice in reading, but much more troublesome in everyday life. When things are good I’m anxious to know that it will last, and when they get hard I long for someone to assure me that everything will be okay. You probably know the feeling too. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just skip to the end, just for a second, to see how our lives turned out? God doesn’t grant us that ability, but in the last book of the Bible, He paints a glorious picture of the future for us to cling to in hope.
In Revelation 21, He describes the new heaven and new earth, a place where God dwells directly with his people, and everything sad is wiped away. So often we are consumed by our past regrets or present pain, forgetting that God is constantly moving us forward to this glorious future. We long for a world with no more insecurity, loneliness, rejection, pain, frustration, or anxiety because this was the kind of world for which we were created.
This is the world we are promised, and the world that eventually will come true, because our Savior has won the battle. We can rejoice now because one day He will wipe every tear from our eyes and everything will be made new. All of your struggles, everything that keeps you up at night, everything you wish was different about yourself and the world will be eliminated and we will all be at peace. It’s a glorious, joyous prospect, one that can get you through the hardest of times.
We know, without a shadow of a doubt, that our struggles will not last forever. The best part of this new earth will be the ability to be in the presence of our God, something our hearts have longed for since the day we were born. We will be with Him, and He will be with us and we will finally be satisfied and at rest. We can cling to this hope now and bask in the knowledge that God’s not done with us.
It’s easy to be discouraged by your own spiritual struggles and harder to see the growth you want so badly, but God knows the end result. He doesn’t leave us where we are, but works in us and through us daily to gradually refine us into the glorified creatures we eventually will be.
No matter how bleak the present may seem, we can be confident that the Lord is working, and that one day some day, all will be made right. I may not know what will happen in my lifetime, but I know the final end to the story, and it’s one I can trust and hope for, starting now.