Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 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.”
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!”Revelation 21:1-5a, New Living Translation
Revelation—I’ve always been afraid of it. When I was young, I ended up hearing only the “the world is ending” portions. I was a 13-year-old learning that some colors of the rainbow represented evil, and some lyrics were purposefully evil, and there were times when those two bad things were combined! I was terrified.
The scary “preacher” man didn’t talk about any of the rest of the book. There was no hope, no grace, in the man’s message—only bleakness, suffering, desolation, and death. Christ wasn’t waiting for us in the picture he drew. His was a message of fire and brimstone—behave or else! —a list of don’t’s. I already felt like the odd one in my family, and now I was certain that at least half of us were going to rot in hell. I felt responsible for the salvation of my family members.
Then I learned about grace. And grace is hope.
What this passage shows me is that no matter what happens in this life—however scary, difficult—we will be in the Kingdom of God, where none of that will matter. I’m not responsible for getting myself or others into the Kingdom—God does that. I do my best, with God’s help, to love others and not judge—I’m definitely not qualified. Plus, I have enough to do!
My niece Aliyah died suddenly two months before her eighth birthday from undiagnosed juvenile diabetes. The song “Into the West” by Annie Lennox helped me remember God’s peace in the middle of anguish during Aliyah’s visitation. As I knelt with my oldest niece and youngest nephew, God took it from my shoulders, let me breathe, and told me that she was okay.
The pain of the world will melt away. We will be reunited with our loved ones, be reunited with those we’ve lost sight of. I will see my niece again. Our lives on this Earth are temporary; we are Kingdom-bound.
Lord, in the midst of the struggles and losses of today, remind me that you are indeed making everything new. Shine light into the dark places within – the places where fire and brimstone threaten to overwhelm me and where the voices of condemnation carry bullhorns. Tune my ear to the loud shout from your throne that says God is with me, right here in the middle of my stuff. I am not alone. Amen.
Kimberly Robinson Goats lives in Prescott Valley, AZ
I love writing with fountain pens–they inspire me. I became an aunt when I was 12 and a mom when I was 40.