And he was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21: 5

 

It can be hard to be optimistic these days. There is so much wrong in our world, and the pain that all of this brokenness is causing is hard to handle. It doesn’t even need to be personal hurt, loss, and suffering for it to have a strong impact upon us. Then, when the sting of life’s sorrows does come to us in a personal manner, our already tender and raw hearts can be overwhelmed by it all. This is a challenging time in a tough place to live; yet, we are not even close to being alone in this place or in our journey through it. From that moment when it all went sideways, God has been involved in this world and with us as He seeks out all that are lost and has set His plan for full redemption into motion.

 

The plan is present as God articulated it in those first dark hours of creation’s rebellion, and its resolution is a promise that God has made to that same creation and that He specifically gave to the people of this world. We were to be saved out of our sin-devised death by Christ, and He has come and He does save us through faith and by His unfathomable grace. Although I and others who live today may not see that day of final renewal during our current lives on earth, we can be certain of God’s promise that this day of restoration for creation will come. For me there is a hopefulness to be found in this knowledge, for my own efforts on behalf of God’s kingdom are neither wasted nor are they of minor importance to my Lord. He calls me to do what it is that I engage in, and He empowers that effort as He directs it.

 

This reality provides me with true freedom. It expresses the hope that underlies life in this world. For as there is pain, loss, and suffering afoot everywhere today, the presence of God is also here with me, and that presence pours out the glory of my Creator and Lord onto all that I encounter. In moments of loss, He is there to comfort and to fill up with His infinite love. During the hours of pain, Christ shares in it and provides a form of grace that soothes the sting of my raw and tortured nerves. It does seem to me that even over the harsh and raucous noise of our world today that the voices of the angelic choir that surrounds the throne of God can be heard singing out their unceasing praises to the Lord. They speak of God’s promise of total renewal, and they lead me to join in with them in singing praises to Christ who has redeemed me and is working every day to perfect His renewal in me and in all who follow Him.

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,

who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:

“I dwell in the high and holy place,

and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,

to revive the spirit of the lowly,

and to revive the heart of the contrite.

Isaiah 57: 15

 

These are days when it seems as if God is very far away. All appearances suggest that this world is filled with the presence of all that is evil. Good people are suffering in such horrible and public ways that it feels like their blood is the fuel that feeds the earth around us. In all of this, nature is broken as tornados, hurricanes, typhoons, and earthquakes destroy, and wars, oppressive violence, and numerous forms of injustice undo human order. In it all, where is God?

 

The Lord does dwell in the high place of heaven. He is above and beyond all of the destructive mess that is our earthly existence. His hands are clean and His heart remains pure. Despite our guilt He does not pour out anger and destruction on us. From this place of separation God sees all with absolute clarity. His view of our situation is complete as He sees yesterday, today and all of the future with total comprehension. All of the history of the earth and its people is included in God’s plan for restoration.

 

Yet, there is more. For God has never just left us to our own devices and said that He would come back later to sort out the pieces of our destructive living. He also dwells with people who turn to Him. The Lord of Creation is the savior of my soul, the encourager of my heart, and the source of wisdom for each of my thoughts and actions. He brings His perfect council to anyone who desires it. His Spirit speaks peace to troubled minds and comfort to weary hearts. For all who desire Him, He is present, and the presence of the Lord is sufficient for all of the troubles of this world.