I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God . . . will be with them as their God.” Revelation 21:3 (CEB)
For years I avoided preaching difficult passages maybe because I was nervous about interpreting them well or even understanding them well. Yet, in the last ten years, I have challenged myself to preach from them for my own growth and understanding as well as sharing some marvelous messages in them with the congregations I serve. Revelation is one of those books that I’m occasionally using as the text for my sermon.
Actually, Revelation 21:1-6 has been one that I have read throughout my life because I find such comfort and promise in it. Here we have the promise of God coming to earth to dwell with us for eternity. We have the promise of peace on earth, and that we will no longer have tears, mourning, death, pain or maladies that bring us down. It will be the restoration of the earth, relationships between families, friends, and nations.
Those who believe that we will destroy ourselves with wars, pollution, mismanagement of our resources, etc. will scoff at the idea that the earth will be restored, but Revelation reminds us that God really is in charge! Not only will God come to live on earth (heaven isn’t just a “pie in the sky” thing!), but God will bring peace and wholeness to us. There is always hope!
What does that say about those saints who have gone on before us? I can only speculate that we all will be together in a place of peace and harmony – that’s the promise of heaven anyway. Of course, I realize that there are galaxies we haven’t even been able to fathom way out there in space, but then, God can be wherever God wants to be, so wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that the entire universe lives in harmony together with God’s presence.
It’s interesting to at least think about these passages! I always tell my Bible study group that I have a long list of questions and things about which I want to learn when I get to heaven, but by the time I get there, I guess the list won’t matter anyway. God reveals as much as we need to know and what we can handle, and maybe the rest just doesn’t apply. Whatever the case, I find that the Bible holds out the promise of hope through Christ’s death and resurrection, as well as the promise that God is and will continue to be with us to the end of time – whenever that may be.
Where is your hope?
How do you cling to it when the times get tough?
How do you tackle the challenges?