Tag Archives: hope

A New Place

Revelation 21:1-6 (CEV)

The New Heaven and the New Earth

21 I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and so had the sea. Then I saw New Jerusalem, that holy city, coming down from God in heaven. It was like a bride dressed in her wedding gown and ready to meet her husband.

I heard a loud voice shout from the throne:

God’s home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever.

Then the one sitting on the throne said:

I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted. Everything is finished! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give water from the life-giving fountain to everyone who is thirsty.

It is not for no reason that this passage is often read at funerals.  For this is a promise of how things can be, how they will be, in God’s final ultimate reign.  How things will be for God’s saints when they live with him in  a new place.

There will be restoration and re-creation, God will live with his people.

I love this chapter and the following one.  In my darkest moments these verses have been the hope, the promise of all that had become undone being remade; all that I have lost being given back to me – water, fruiting trees, healing will all be there, in this new and special place where God lives and where I can live with him.

And all those tears, those lonely, gut-wrenching, despairing tears, will be wiped one last time, by God himself.

There will be no more reason for tears, for their causes will no longer be there.

How we long for a place where death, suffering, crying and pain are no more – and that is what God promises – in the place of his fulfilment, love and hope.

So I long for a new place.  A place of life, fertility, refreshment, peace, love and God.

I long for God and his hope and promise.  I long to be with him, in the here and now, but in a new place too.

New Jerusalem

 

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A Happy Ending?

I see it now,
how wrong I have been,
how I thought I had the answers,
trotted out my glib assurances,
spoke
when really I had no idea.
I said to much
and listened to you
too little;
said things about you
rather than hearing from you

and now, here I am.
I see that you can do
what you will do,
you will do
what you need to,
it’s not me
in control.

Help me Lord,
to work with you,
not rile against you,
to speak with understanding,
not trot out
what I’ve heard.
May I speak as I hear you,
and say as I see you
in truth
and reality.

From my place of despair
take me to a place of hope
in you.

Job 42:1-6, 10-17 (CEV)

Job’s Reply to the Lord

No One Can Oppose You

42 Job said:

No one can oppose you,
because you have the power
    to do what you want.
You asked why I talk so much
    when I know so little.
I have talked about things
that are far beyond
    my understanding.
You told me to listen
    and answer your questions.
I heard about you from others;
now I have seen you
    with my own eyes.
That’s why I hate myself
and sit here in dust and ashes
    to show my sorrow.

A Happy Ending

10 After Job had prayed for his three friends, the Lord made Job twice as rich as he had been before. 11 Then Job gave a feast for his brothers and sisters and for his old friends. They expressed their sorrow for the suffering the Lord had brought on him, and they each gave Job some silver and a gold ring.

12 The Lord now blessed Job more than ever; he gave him fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand pair of oxen, and a thousand donkeys.

13 In addition to seven sons, Job had three daughters, 14 whose names were Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren Happuch. 15 They were the most beautiful women in that part of the world, and Job gave them shares of his property, along with their brothers.

16 Job lived for another one hundred forty years—long enough to see his great-grandchildren have children of their own— 17 and when he finally died, he was very old.

Two sides.  The place of abject despair, of realisation of rock bottom – and the place of hope. Does our journey end in sackcloth and ashes, in pain and anguish?  Will there be a happy ending for me and my story?

This apparent ‘happy ever after’ ending is an expression of hope and faith.  That everything will be OK, because God is in charge.  I’m not convinced our happy ending will always look like Jobs, in fact life has shown me that often it won’t – but in the world where Job lived, long life, wealth and happiness were the expression that God was happy with you, and we have to read this ending in that context.

Our happy ending may look very different.  It may not look so happy and rosy.  We may still be in a place of distress and pain.  But, from the place of sackcloth and ashes, we may come to a place of hope, of blessing, of knowledge and security of God’s love – and a place of peace.  It may not look like Job’s happy ending, but we can still find that place of rest and security that God is with us, and though we may not understand – he does.  There is our hope.

How Many Times?

How many times
have I wanted to hide away,
have some peace,
some me time,
chance to recharge,
to just be,
to listen,
to pray?

But I have been needed
and called on
and had to go,
to give,
to be
in a difficult place
where I am wanted.

How many times
have I wanted
to keep something special,
for the few,
for those who deserved it,
or who I thought did?

But I have been called
to meet need,
to reach out in love,
to step outside
what I thought were my boundaries,
what I was called to,
because there was need
and hope
and a reaching out.

How many times
has God worked,
in ways I don’t understand,
can’t comprehend,
am not sure I agree with?

But he steps in
to meet people,
to hold them,
to heal them,
to reach them.

In their pain,
their fear,
their anger,
their questioning,
whatever their need.
Whatever their background,
their origin,
their appearance,
wherever they are coming from
or going to.

And he asks me to join him

My God

Mark 7:24-37 (CEV)

A Woman’s Faith

24 Jesus left and went to the region near the city of Tyre, where he stayed in someone’s home. He did not want people to know he was there, but they found out anyway. 25 A woman whose daughter had an evil spirit in her heard where Jesus was. And right away she came and knelt down at his feet. 26 The woman was Greek and had been born in the part of Syria known as Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to force the demon out of her daughter. 27 But Jesus said, “The children must first be fed! It isn’t right to take away their food and feed it to dogs.”

28 The woman replied, “Lord, even dogs eat the crumbs that children drop from the table.”

29 Jesus answered, “That’s true! You may go now. The demon has left your daughter.” 30 When the woman got back home, she found her child lying on the bed. The demon had gone.

Jesus Heals a Man Who Was Deaf and Could Hardly Talk

31 Jesus left the region around Tyre and went by way of Sidon toward Lake Galilee. He went through the land near the ten cities known as Decapolis. 32 Some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk. They begged Jesus just to touch him.

33 After Jesus had taken him aside from the crowd, he stuck his fingers in the man’s ears. Then he spit and put it on the man’s tongue. 34 Jesus looked up toward heaven, and with a groan he said, “Effatha!”[c] which means “Open up!” 35 At once the man could hear, and he had no more trouble talking clearly.

36 Jesus told the people not to say anything about what he had done. But the more he told them, the more they talked about it. 37 They were completely amazed and said, “Everything he does is good! He even heals people who cannot hear or talk.”