As odd as Revelation can be at times, mostly what I've been left with is HOPE. I knew of the hope we have as Christians before, but now it is more real to me.
Just a couple weeks ago our memory verse was what I called "the longest memory verse in the history of memory verses". It was acutally 2 verses and I had to write them several different times as a part of my Bible lesson that week, so many times that my hand actually began to ache.
"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."” Revelation 21:3-4
Do you hear the hope in those verses? No more death, nor crying, nor pain!
I really cannot even bear to think about Jesus's mother watching him be crucified. Such tremendous pain!
I think of all the great pain that is in our world today.
The mothers who cry out in anguish as their children's bodies are pulled from a sunken ferry boat.
The mothers in Ethiopia who watch their babies die of starvation.
I think of the evening recently when I had to sit down next to my 11 year old son and tell him that the teacher he loves so much who left his class 2 months ago when her twin babies were born very prematurely, that one of her baby boys, who we prayed so hard for and cheered on over a month in updates from the neonatal ICU, had died.
And some days it just feels like too much.
But, those are the days our great hope in Jesus is the most important to cling to!
I read the Rev. 21:3-4 verses to my son as he blinked back the tears. And also, Isaiah 65:19-20, "I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed"
And I got to tell him, "It won't always be this way! God tells us there will come a time when babies will not die!" Oh how glad I was to have those Bible verses to share with him!
We traveled to Oklahoma for an Easter celebration with my husband's side of the family and on Saturday, that day between the anniversary of Jesus's death and his resurrection, that time that must have felt so dark and painful for Jesus's disciples and loved ones all those years ago, my husband picked up the decades old Bible that belonged to his grandmother. He flipped through pages not finding many markings, but when he got to Revelation 21, there it was! His grandmother, who is no longer with us, had marked the great hope of Revelation 21:4!
Today, the Monday after the Resurrection Sunday, it is tempting to go back to life as usual, to live with my to-do list in the forefront of my mind. But, as I walk the halls of the nursing home with my own mama, she is no longer able to talk to me and yet she smiles occasionally in response so I know she is still there buried under the dementia that claimed so much of her life at too young an age, I help steady her steps and smile back at her with the great hope that things will not always be this way. There will come a day when the pain of this current world will be no more!
Our Savior lives! And that same power that raised Him from the dead is bringing heaven to earth where God will dwell with us! Rev. 21:3
Hope changes things! Easter changed everything!