I don’t want to rush past the beautiful conclusion to the last book of the Bible. The promises of these few verses are immense. God has an amazing future planned for us. In these opening verses we read that our new community, the New Jerusalem, will be “like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” We have all been wow-ed by a bride on her wedding day as she cascades down the aisle to her groom waiting at the altar. So much preparation has gone in to that moment.
So, too, God is preparing for the moment of his great reveal. He is waiting for the perfect time for all those he has loved so much from a distance to finally be brought into his presence. There is no way to truly express the beauty of this elaborate moment when God’s extravagant love for us is fully revealed. We just don’t have the words to fully describe the majesty. It is the precious moment when the time comes for “God himself will be with them.” With us. Don’t rush past this image. God himself! With us!
If you’ve lost a loved one to death, and most of us have, you know the comfort these words can bring. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” I know when I lost my mom, I clung to these words. Her earthly body had been so ravaged–first by polio as a child and then by cancer as an adult. There is no more pain for her. Ever! How can I not rejoice in that?
As we walk through this life, we know as Christ followers not to expect a problem-free life of leisure. There will be sorrow. There will be pain. That is part of this world. But it is not the future God is preparing for us. When we experience troubles, sadness, loneliness, frustration, ridicule, distraction, or challenges, we just need to hold on. Remember these words. “Look, I am making everything new! All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.” We need to focus then on being victorious! That’s our job.
The world as we know it won’t last forever. I don’t know about you, but there are days when I wish the sky would open up and Jesus would descend. I love that we have the Holy Spirit living inside us and guiding us each day, but having a meet up with God would be amazing. It’s easy to long for that now, being in a world filled with temptation and ravaged by sin.
Yet, we are called to embrace the here and now. It is in this maze of life, too, where we show God our devotion. It will be easy to praise him and honor him when there is no more sin. We need to be giving him glory when it’s hard. That will separate us from the weak. “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” We don’t want to be cowards who cannot praise God in the storms of life but turn to immorality and false hope for comfort.
Take heart, my friend. We aren’t alone. We have each other (other believers), and we have the Holy Spirit. If you are feeling weak or lost, call upon the power living inside you. If you are stumbling, or easily give in to temptation, maybe you’ve forgotten to rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit and begun to rely only on yourself. We are nothing without Christ!
Let’s pray. Lord renew my strength today. I am feeling weak and need to feel your awesome presence. Cleanse my mind and help me to focus on the positive things around me. You are preparing such a wonderful destiny for me. Help me to look forward to that, keeping my eye on the prize. In Jesus’ name. Amen.