Today is our last message of 2011. So . . . how did this year go for you? Did it turn out like you had planned? Did you accomplish the goals you had set for yourself in the areas that matter most?
As we get ready to turn the page on yet another year, we must remember that history will someday come to an abrupt end. Jesus will return on the clouds of heaven, the trumpets will sound, and He will restore all things. Jesus will take all that is wrong and make it right, and He will take all that is crooked and make it straight.
When Jesus comes this time, He will not appear to humanity as a baby laid in a manger, as we just celebrated this Christmas; this time He will appear as a conquering King. And when He does, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11). The kingdom of heaven will come in all its fullness, majesty, and glory, as God ushers in a new heaven and a new earth and a new you (Revelation 21:5).
Regardless of how this year worked out for you, the best is yet to come! Perhaps you had a year filled with one storm after another, barely keeping your head above water. Or maybe it was your best year ever. Whatever it was, it was not what it will be one day.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things is passed away.
And when that day comes, you will know in your heart that you have arrived at your intended destination. You will finally and fully be home at last. You will be in a place you had longed for, looked for, and lived for, even when you didn’t know it. You will finally be in the place where you know you belong because of the One you belong to! And this will not be the end of your story, but rather it will be only just the beginning of it. Everything you will have done up to that great day will end up being only “the cover and the title page of the One Great Story, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before,” as C. S. Lewis so rightly observed.
The best is truly yet to come! Heaven will descend into our fallen, broken, and hurting world. The lion will lie down with the lamb. The skies will sing and the trees will dance. Our humanness will be restored as we are reunited with all people of every tongue, tribe, and nation, and there will be shalom on earth that will never again be broken. WOW! What an incredible future to look forward to! The entire world will be restored.
Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)
Until that day comes, and for as long as we are here, let us champion His cause by preaching the Gospel to everyone we meet—with both our lips and our lives. Let us, as fallen and broken people, reach up, reach in, and reach out in the name of Jesus to bring His restoration and reconciliation to a fallen and broken world. Let that be our greatest goal and first priority in 2012 for the glory of our King.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!