To my precious daughters: Today I watched a sermon on the book of Revelation. The message was that “everything that God touches is made new.” Revelation 21: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away…..And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new‘.”
I think about this a lot, especially when I am alone, as I have been this weekend, with you all visiting your cousins. When I have a particularly bad fit of coughing, which leaves me gasping for breath, I think “what if I die right now and my children come home to find me dead?” It isn’t something I fear. In fact, since I am in pain all the time, and experience such a longing to “be made new“, I actually look forward to death, to being with the Lord, with a new body, in a redeemed earth. So I write these words as if they are my last–even though they probably won’t be–as a legacy to you, knowing they won’t have quite the impact on you if I am alive. But when I am dead and you want to be reminded of me, you can read these words with new eyes.
Not new in the sense of new stuff, shiny and unfamiliar. In our world we all love new, we all seem to hate the old. We seem to think that new wisdom is greater wisdom, and old wisdom is lesser, when the opposite is really true. But when Revelation speaks of new means something quite different–it means redeemed. Redeemed from what, you ask? Rather than get into theology, I want to leave you with words that will redeem your relationships, especially your relationship with your heavenly father. If these are my last words, I can gratefully say that God has given me the grace to have nothing against anyone–I bear no grudges, have no sense of unforgiveness towards anyone nor any sense of grievances or wrongs done to me. My conscience is clear of wrongs done to me or by me, NOT because I have never been wronged by nor done wrong to others.
God has forgiven me in Jesus Christ, and I have obeyed his command to forgive others. How do I know this? There is no one in my past or present whom I think of with anger or dislike. This grace is an undeserved blessing. I wish and hope for each of you the same blessing. It is there for the taking. Revelation 21:6. “And he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment’.” What is the requirement to receive the “water of life?” Just this–be thirsty! Thirst for the new life, thirst for the redeemed world where “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore.”
If you think of anyone in your life or your past to whom you bear ill will (“I hate that guy” or “she makes me so mad”), forgive them in your heart and then seek them out to forgive face to face. If you cannot, then fall on your knees and ask Jesus Christ for the gift of grace to forgive, and He will make your life new, new as in redeemed, better, eternal. Just bring your thirst (no, this is not a 7Up commercial).