My roses are blooming!!!
Every once in a while, about an hour after I go to bed, as I am about to fall asleep, a child’s silhouette appears in my doorway, backlit by the hallway light. That’s when I know my husband and I are about to be confronted with a theological question of great importance. Maybe this is what Paul had in mind when he admonished us to be “ready in season and out of season”–or awake or half-asleep. This time the question was, “Do you think the world end will end before I die?”
I remember wondering that as well. Will I have a chance to grow up, get married, own a laptop? I gave him the Biblically correct answer (no one knows but God Himself–and if someone says they know, run like your hair’s on fire) but then challenged him as well. The question implies a false assumption–that the world will end. Period. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, I think we do a great disservice to kids (and adults) when we speak of heaven in its stereotypically understood way–some ethereal place where, God, angels, and Abraham Lincoln reside, surrounded by clouds. We don’t embrace our full inheritance in Christ when we fail to speak of and celebrate the promise of a new creation–a new heaven and a new earth that God will create. That is definitely good news! Understanding our full riches as Christ’s children gives us joy and makes life’s sacrifices worth everything!
As God says in Isaiah 65, “For behold, I create a new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create…”
So, son, your question really is, “Will this dying world end and a new, perfect one be created before I die?” Would that be so bad?
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor..” Isaiah 61:1
Coronation anointing spoon
All things royal are at the forefront of the news these days, with the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton fast approaching. Reading this Scripture reminded me of the coronation ceremony for the British monarch, which involves anointing the monarch-to-be with oil, setting them apart for their special job. If only a little oil could do the trick! We could all put a little EVOO on our heads and be off for the day, sure of a special dispensation of grace for the work set before us.
Christ was truly anointed. He was imbued with the Holy Spirit to bring good news, freedom, and healing to us. We likewise are given the Holy Spirit when we believe and, hence, receive the power necessary to accomplish the good works God has planned for us to do. What a waste it is to hold back from our work because of fear or laziness! Let’s work while it is day and see how God levels the path in front of us as we follow Him!
25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
The Lincoln Memorial is an astonishingly powerful monument. Larger than life, the likeness of America’s most humble and endearing president sits etched in a mammoth chunk of white marble. Standing in front of it, Abraham Lincoln, unpretentious and accessible in life, becomes unapproachable in the cool, white hugeness of his image. In front of him you experience the desire to climb upon the giant lap of such a benevolent hero and yet, such a gesture seems sacrilegious.
When I read this passage of Scripture from John 16, I keep seeing that monument of Lincoln before my eyes. My feelings about God the Father are often similar to the feelings I felt when I first stood in front of the memorial to this great man. God is, at once, Someone I am totally enthralled with and yet One I hesitate to approach. But in this passage Christ says something that turns this thinking on its head.
No longer is the Father inaccessible. Christ doesn’t even need to convey my messages to God for me, though He intercedes for me day and night. My requests can go straight to God the Father Himself, “because He loves us.” God the Father has entrusted Christ with judgment and sits open-armed in the great throne-room above, waiting for us. This is how Christ’s sacrifice glorifies the Father. We now can behold Him–embrace the One we dared never to approach. We are free to climb into the great lap of God.