Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” (Revelation 21:1)
God has placed eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and thus we all long for a place we have never lived: Paradise. Because we are image-bearers of God, we intuitively know that we were made to last forever. When Adam and Eve sinned, death entered into our existence as an alien invader. People say death is only natural, but that’s not true! Death is normal. We all are dying at the rate of 60 minutes an hour. But death is not natural. It is unnatural; it is not what God created us for in the beginning when He made all things “very good” and death was nowhere to be found. We recognize that our current situation is not right, so as we live on this side of the grave, we are all hungering and thirsting for that Paradise that was lost.
Because we know deep down that we were made for Paradise, we have a tendency to try everything in our power to transform our today into the promise of Paradise to come. We seek after earthly treasures that we hope will meet us in our deepest place of need, but that simply will not happen. No created thing can do for us what only our Creator can do. That quest to find fulfillment in the things of this world only makes us desperately driven, which ultimately leads to despair. We seek identity in our professions, and that leaves us wanting. We seek satisfaction in our relationships, and that leaves us weary. We seek meaning in our social status, and that leaves us wiped out.
The key that unlocks the door to living a life that truly matters is to live today in light of eternity. We must remember we are not home yet. This world is not all there is. We have a promised Paradise waiting for us on the other side of the grave. When we remember what has been promised to us through our relationship with Jesus, we can live in the midst of the disappointments, disillusions, and defeats of this life because we know the ultimate end of our story here, a story that will go on forever there.
C. S. Lewis concluded his wonderful “Chronicles of Narnia” series with these words:
All their life in this world and all their adventures had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever; in which every chapter is better than the one before.
Lewis was expressing a biblical truth; let that truth both comfort and challenge you to live your life today in view of the place you long to live in: your promised Paradise.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!