“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more.” When I was young, these words held little meaning. I was busy building a life and a ministry and these good things consumed my thoughts and prayers.
Over time, family and friends suffered injuries and passed away. Tears come more frequently now as time takes its measure of my loved ones.
Today when I read these words, I find great comfort in God’s promise and I smile. Still, I live between the promise and the fulfillment. Am I to long for that painless world but scorn today? How do I honor the promise and the present grief?
Part of the answer came to me as I pastored a small church made up mostly of farmers. During the cold of winter when nothing grew and the fields lay dormant, they prepared for the certain return of spring. They repaired old equipment while checking the interest rates for loans in case the old needed to make way for the new. They waited not with folded hands or lazy minds but in active preparation for the new season of growth.
Jeremiah 29:4-7 offers an answer as well: God has promised to rescue the children of Israel from Babylonian captivity. While they wait, they send word to Jeremiah and ask what they are supposed to do until God’s promised return. He tells them to build houses, have children, and pray for the place in which they live. The prophet tells them that waiting is not only a time for renewal and preparation; it is life itself.
What is our biblical response to waiting until death shall be no more? We are to love our families, work our jobs, pray for our communities, and wait on the certainty of spring, when God makes everything new.
God, thank you for today and for the promise of tomorrow. Amen.
Change can be difficult. It is easy to get comfortable with what is familiar. In Acts, some in Jerusalem criticize Peter for having fellowship with the Gentiles. Peter explains that his actions are not his own idea but are inspired by a vision from God. This change leads to the spread of the gospel. Revelation speaks of a new heaven and a new earth. God cares for the earth that God created, but at the end of time everything will be changed and made better. Jesus tells his disciples in John a new commandment, namely that they should love one another. This is how others will know that they are truly Jesus’ disciples. Psalm 148 is not about change but is pure praise for the works of the Lord.
Read Acts 11:1-18. God calls Peter to initiate change. How do you respond to changes in your church’s culture? How do you discern what changes are from God?
Read Psalm 148. The next time you sing, focus on praising God and sharing God’s love through your words and melody.
Read Revelation 21:1-6. How do you live a full life in the waiting for the new heaven and new earth?
Read John 13:31-35. In the wake of betrayal, Jesus calls his followers to sacrificial love. When have you needed to heed the call to this type of love?
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