DG-blog-header-June6-01 My husband and I hunkered down in front of the television last night, watching the premiere of "America's Got Talent." It seems to me that most people loved the unlikely stories–the people who have waited their entire lives for their dreams to come true, singing in subways stations or performing on street corners between red-light cycles. It seems like there is something within us that loves watching hope float to the heavens. We long to see hope manifested and come true. There's a sense of immediacy for talent shows like America's Got Talent. Sure, it spans several months at a time, but there's a joy we get from seeing people go from "nobody" to "somebody" literally overnight. We anxiously await seeing the new talent discovered, with the complicated backstories that give rise to an even more intense underdog story. We love these things because we are a people who have a longing for hope written on our hearts and minds. Believers have a different hope. It is a hope that we have to wait for, though. We often times forget about the eternal hope within us, putting it on the back burner, forgetting it exists. We are a culture of the here-and-now. Everything is fast. Instant gratification rules over all of our appetites. Amazon prime will have it here it two days. Netflix gives us entertainment on our whim and demand. Our social media feeds present us will real-time news. But the Christian hope is something we expectantly await. We have to look forward to it. There's not much that is instant about looking ahead to the next life when we will dwell in the pure presence of the Almighty.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband." Revelation 21:1-2

DG-instas-June6-18- The Christ's beloved John was given this vision bursting with the glories of what would come next. Preserved for millennia, now we have this vision too. We have insight into what our hope is founded on, where our hope lies. Though it has not yet happened, we see that this world that we know so well will pass away. But this is not a hopeless passing away, where everything disappears and desolation reigns. This is our hope: what is broken will dissolve and will be replaced with something better and new. God is preparing us for new Jerusalem, God is showing us that what is marred and gloomy now will be replaced by something adorned as a bride–beautiful, perfect, chaste, pure, and holy.

Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God's dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. Revelation 21:3

As if the sight weren't beautiful enough, now John hears a sweet thing from a booming voice: God's presence is dwelling with His people. What God sought to accomplish through the Law, the Prophets, through the sending of His Son, was to dwell among His people. He wants to be with us, and now we wait in hope for a day in which we are allowed and able to dwell alongside our God. We will live with Him. He will live with us. We are God's possession now, but can you imagine the fullness of being His people when all things are new, right, and perfect? No more will turmoil rip us from His grasp, no more will our sin separate us from His presence. We will dwell in safety and security, in our Lord's presence, forever and ever.

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.Then the one seated on the throne said, "Look, I am making everything new." He also said, "Write, because these words are faithful and true." Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give to the thirsty from the spring of the water of life." Revelation 21:4-6

DG-instas-June6-18-2 Here is the promise we cling to in struggle and strife: the Lord will fully heal and redeem us. He will finish and perfect our faith. In the life to come, when our eyes take in the beauties and glories of the Lord, our hope will be realized, and the strife of earthly things will pass away as surely as the old earth. Griefs, pains, and tears will be desolate in comparison to the sight of the Lord, and He will personally redeem us from weeping. We will be with Him, and there is no earthly sorrow that can outweigh the manifest hope of our inheritance with Christ. He will make all things new. This is trustworthy, it is a promise directly from the mouth of the Lord. His words are faithful to us, the vision that He gave John is reliable. The Lord is sure to make all things new, He will be our eternal Spring of living water, the Sun that does not set. When these things are realized, when our hope is realized, we will experience the perfection of satisfaction in Him alone. DG-instas-June6-18-3 There is a reason that God gave John this vision, who in turn gave it to us. There is a purpose behind why it was important for God to tell us what would come after death should His second coming tarry. We need this message. We need this hope. Our souls bear the weight of eternity, and we often try to fill that by thinking solely of the hope directly before us in the form of overnight successes or underdog stories. We try to replace our eternal hope with the hope of a good job, a steady spouse, a flourishing home. But none of this will secure in us the hope that we crave. We only find that hope when we are looking forward and upward, to the newness to come to the earth and the heavens. The hope that we need isn't found under any rock or behind any closed door. It is not held within the four corners of the earth. The hope that we need is found in knowing that Jesus Christ is preparing a place where we can dwell with Him tearlessly forever. We will be His people. He will be our God. Sarah Morrison is a staff writer for The Daily Grace Co.
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