For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. (Isaiah 65:17)
One of the greatest lines in J.R.R Tolkien’s trilogy The Lord of the Rings comes when Sam Gamgee awakes after the ring was destroyed at Mount Doom. Waking up a bit fuzzy, he thought the great wizard Gandalf was dead and that the hope of defeating evil was all but lost. Yet when he saw that Gandalf, dazzling and bright, was alive, Sam rejoiced, “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue?” Tolkien goes on to write, “[Sam] himself burst into tears. Then, as a sweet rain will pass down a wind of spring and the sun will shine out the clearer, his tears ceased, and his laughter welled up, and laughing he sprang from his bed.”
This is a beautiful picture of what awaits everyone who hopes in Jesus. Like Sam, we recognize that this world is not what it should be. This world is a sad place and we long for it to be changed. The Christian hope is that when Jesus returns, he will bring a new heavens and new earth. He will make everything sad come untrue. He will wipe away our tears and well up our souls with laughter.
Can you imagine? No murder. No cancer. No bankruptcy. No tornadoes. No earthquakes. No floods. No car accidents. No rape. No blindness. No deafness. No speech impediments. No genetic disorders. No miscarriages. No infertility. No hunger. No thirst. No theft. No paralysis. No divorce. No lust. No orphans. No widows. No selfishness. No addiction. No drunkenness. No suicide. No child abuse. No pride. No exploitation. No fraud. No greed.
Yet this is not yet. Just as Israel awaited the advent of Messiah’s first coming, so we await his second coming. Advent provides intentional time and space to cultivate in us a desire for a redeemed world where everything sad will come untrue. There is a simple prayer that expresses this longing. May we learn to pray it in earnest this Advent: “Come, Lord Jesus! Come!”
Scripture and Reflection Questions
Read Revelation 21:1-8
- Do you pray, “Come, Lord Jesus!”? Make that your prayer now!
- What frustrates you about our current world? What excites you about the new creation?
- Read v. 4. What do you anticipate it being like when Jesus wipes away your tears?
- How can the expectation of a new world where the sad things are going to be done away with change the way you live in this world?
- Have you been able to slow down this Advent to appreciate the glimpses of the new creation? Why or why not? How can you today?