I dislike clunky titles, but that is what I am writing of: retrospection of the year past, grey, smudgy, tired and finished. Oh yes, muddy too, here in south central PA. The new year coming, hopefully with snow to cover the homeliness of winter, people getting married, long-anticipated babies due, students hoping to graduate with honors and others making sure they wear red undies on New Year’s Eve to give them better chances of finding true love in the next year. Do you notice that the things we anticipate are all good, happy, peace and prosperity?
I hate bad news, funerals, ugliness and mean-spirited gossip. I unfollow people who habitually depress me on Facebook. It verges on simple “head in the sand”. A few years ago when there was genocide in Rwanda, I avoided the news like the plague. I couldn’t deal with it. This year I forced myself to look at the excruciating realities that are everyday life for so many people. I committed to carrying the burdens of others where I can. Sometimes I really don’t even like the world we live in.
Recently the boys and I watched Inside Einstein’s Mind on PBS, a documentary that explores his thought processes as Einstein worked for years on his theory of relativity and his elegant mathematical equation explaining how the universe works. Physicists have not ever come up with a better explanation for spacetime. It boggles my mind that time bends with gravity and velocity, but what really intrigues me is the time travel dreamers. I know it’s nonsense, that we can’t get this year over again, etc. etc. I don’t want to. Well, I wouldn’t mind going back to November and planting a whole bunch of lettuce, seeing as it would still be growing this oddly warm year.
But if we could travel in time, where would we go? I like things safe and peaceful. I ask myself, which century? Is there even a decade untroubled by strife and sorrow, by epidemics and evil? Is there any utopia, a selfless paradise, anywhere? In the history of the whole world? There are lots of spaces in history I would like to visit, but to live in that era my whole life? I don’t think so. I am not trying to be depressing, but jumping ahead in time doesn’t look too appealing either.
The fact of the matter is that I know in my soul I am made for a different home.”But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13) That is just being realistic. “You are here for such a time as this” was not just for Esther in ancient Persia. It is for me and for you. This little stretch of time, bend as it will with gravity, is still our time and the only time we are given.
I have been reading the Revelation of John over and over in the last month. It is about as fantastic writing as anything I have ever attempted to understand. I believe it; I read a chapter again; I feel awed by the One who is Faithful and True. My inability to really get it does not hamper my faith that it is for real. For years if I didn’t understand something, I couldn’t believe it. Stumbling in mazes of doubt, I implored God for faith. Slowly, slowly, I learned to anchor my soul on eternal truths because He was trustworthy and if He said it, it was true. So here is what I got out of Revelation for the new year, a safe place to build upon in the slippery shiftiness of time.
“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… Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true’.”
Revelation 21:3-5, ESV
He is with us, present day. He will be with us, future forever. The best is yet to come, my friends!