Hi everyone, Rob here. One thing the heart needs is hope. Whether it’s the anticipation of the weekend to get you through a very long thursday; a summer holiday to get you through the cold winter and wet spring or a hope for economic change after a long, hard recession, it is hope that keeps us going, working, living. As those examples show hope exists at a multitude of levels. There is the superficial hope for relief and an end to inconvenience or short-term stress. There is also a deeper hope for a reversal of our difficult circumstances. I used economics as an example but the same would apply to illness, employment issues or recovery from trauma. But there is an even deeper hope that, unlike those mentioned above, doesn’t have us as the centre at all. It is the hope that evil will be destroyed, goodness will reign on the earth and all will be as it should be forever. It goes something like this: “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 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 (Revelation 21:1-4).'”
Those words have special meaning for me today. I visited a woman this morning whose husband had just died from the same illness that took my father-in-law; Motor Neurone Disease. After being a strong, robust mechanic and farmer, he was confined to a wheelchair and needed a machine to breathe. It is a cruel and evil disease. But that will not be his experience in eternity! He will be made new. He will run and laugh and dance. He will know the deepest joy imaginable and then some. He will be the most like himself that he’s ever been. He will dwell with our God who is love.
This life right now is not the whole story! Sometimes we get so overwhelmed by our inconveniences and genuine sorrows that we forget who we belong to and what we belong to. You see we don’t just belong to Jesus, we belong to his kingdom. We are citizens of the age to come and we have the Holy Spirit in us as a “deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:14).”
How’s that for good news! But we can’t keep it to ourselves. We need to tell people the story to which we belong. As Margaret Becker once wrote in her song Immigrant’s Daughter (showing my age here!), “I’m going to run to the land of the living and take everyone that I can with me!” We who belong to Jesus have the most incredible hope; a sure and certain hope as Hebrews 11:1 says.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.