Following on from yesterday, I was reminded earlier of this excellent article by Paul Blackham on the resurrection hope of Christians:
What kind of future are we hoping for? What kind of everlasting future does the Bible offer to us? What was Jesus Himself looking ahead to? The physical character of the Christian hope is totally different from all the human religions of the world.
Well worth a read.
The desert and parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. (Isaiah 35:1-2)
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21)
Then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory”. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:54-58)
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2)
Spring speaks of resurrection. (Inspired by Glen Scrivener, Sim Jemmett and Martin Luther.)
That glorious city of light and love is, as it were, on the top of a high hill or mountain, and there is no way to it but by upward and arduous steps. But though the ascent be difficult, and the way full of trials, still it is worth your while to meet them all for the sake of coming and dwelling in such a glorious city at last.
Be willing, then, to undergo the labour, and meet the toil, and overcome the difficulty. What is it all in comparison with the sweet rest that is at your journey’s end? Be willing to cross the natural inclination of flesh and blood, which is downward, and press onward and upward to the prize. At every step it will be easier and easier to ascend; and the higher your ascent, the more will you be cheered by the glorious prospect before you, and by a nearer view of that heavenly city where in a little while you shall for ever be at rest.
There, in heaven, this infinite fountain of love – this eternal Three in One – is set open without any obstacle to hinder access to it, as it flows forever. There this glorious God is manifested, and shines forth, in full glory, in beams of love. And there this glorious fountain forever flows forth in streams, yea, in rivers of love and delight, and these rivers swell, as it were, to an ocean of love, in which the souls of the ransomed may bathe with the sweetest enjoyment, and their hearts, as it were, be deluged with love!
Brokenness is not the end of the story. Our pain is deep, but it is not all-encompassing; our loss is enormous, but it is not eternal; death is our enemy, but it does not have the final word. The wounded Lamb is also the Lion of Judah and one day he will reign in his perfect rule of love, peace and justice. Such is the hope of the gospel.