Everyone wants to “cancel their free trial” of 2020.
While memes of “Where can we unsubscribe?” can make us crack a smile, if we’re being honest, it’s not a thought we cannot relate to at all either. Reams have been written about all that’s gone wrong since we flipped our calendars seven months ago but, if we thought the world was broken before, it sure seems beyond fixing today.
World leaders are pushing through alarming and questionable agendas. Society is constantly redefining the goalposts of truth to suit personal convictions and convenience. Open dialogue has been traded in for cancel culture. A virus that we still know way too little about is a step away from chalking up one million deaths in its book. One million. And a global economic recession is practically upon us, no longer in our rearview mirrors, as it was just a couple of years ago.
Is all creation groaning? It is.
Andrew Peterson didn’t have an epiphany when he wrote that lyric as part of the rousing congregational anthem ‘Is He Worthy?’ in 2018. As a matter of fact, Apostle Paul called it millennia before Andrew did (see Romans 8:22-23). That’s because all creation — not just humanity — was groaning well before 2020. We’ve been groaning under the yoke of sin and its insidious ramifications since The Fall.
All creation — not just humanity — was groaning well before 2020
There’s a raw honesty about the hymn that speaks to our pain today. But it’s the follow-up questions containing deep spiritual truths and the promise of a restoration we almost dare not hope for that constitute its greatest appeal. For while it’s tempting to look out into the world today and see nothing more than brokenness and deepening shadows, what we’re taking our eyes off of is: glory.
Is a new creation coming? It is.
The Jews had been waiting for the promised Messiah for as long as they could remember. But when the Christ finally entered our world, they rejected Him — because He did not fit in with the glorious vision of whom they thought the Messiah would, or even should, look like.
Speaking in human terms, could you blame them? What kind of king is born the son of a carpenter, has no place to rest His head (Luke 9:58), yet makes Himself out to be equal with God (John 5:8, 10:33)? What kind of rescue mission ends with death on a barbaric Roman cross?
Speaking in divine terms, however, the way to glory was through the grave. Through, because Jesus Christ didn’t enter it to stay. And because of Him, we — the blood-bought Church of God, standing on this side of history today — can marvel, with tears in our eyes, at an inconceivable redemption story that allows us to be called sons and daughters of the living God.
Do you want to see glory? Turn to Galatians 3:8:
“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations shall be blessed in you’.”
What kind of rescue mission ends with death on a barbaric Roman cross? Speaking in divine terms, however, the way to glory was through the grave
The Church was not Plan B for when Plan A failed. The Church was always the plan. When God told Abraham all the nations would be blessed in him, He was talking about all who would come to Him in faith and thus become “sons of Abraham”, the father of faith (Galatians 3:7, Romans 4:16). By extension, therefore, the cross and the suffering of the Son of God were always the plan.
Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst? It is.
What are we to do then when suffering seems to reign supreme at every turn? Remind ourselves of the glory to come. This is not a diversionary tactic. It’s a way to give us some much-needed perspective. Because when we allow sorrow and anger to consume us, we forget two important truths: suffering is not forever. It is also not the end.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18
When, in his vision, the Apostle John stood before the throne of God and wept because no one was found worthy to break the seals and open the scroll (Revelation 5:4), the way to miss the big picture is to tell John he really doesn’t want that scroll opened in the first place (readers of Revelation know that with every one of the seven seals that are broken, calamity after terrible calamity ensues). No light will be found at the end of that sort of tunnel vision though.
Instead, we’d do well to remember that, even at the end, when Satan is wreaking his absolute worst, it will not be The End. Revelation 18 is the culmination of all the woes and judgement to come. But, in chapter 19, the Lion of Judah appears.
When we allow sorrow and anger to consume us, we forget two important truths: suffering is not forever. It is also not the end
John looks and sees heaven opened; he sees a white horse and One sitting upon it who is called Faithful and True. The armies of heaven follow Him en masse on white horses. And on His robe and on His thigh, He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Can you picture the glory of that day? It will be the epic to beat all epics. Gandalf and his troops appearing in the East, or countless heroes being miraculously restored when all seems lost at the final battle in The Avengers, will have nothing on The Word of God appearing to make all things whole again (Revelation 19:13).
When the final foe is vanquished, Jesus will usher in a new era. One where God will, as the song says, dwell again with us; and there shall “no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain” (Revelation 21:3-5). No longer will we “groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling”; rather, mortality will once and for all be swallowed up by life (2 Corinthians 5:2-4).
Can you see the glory that was, that is, and that is to come? Don’t take your eyes off it. Don’t quit singing about it.
Is it good that we remind ourselves of this? It is.
A weekly brief of new resources and Scripture-based insights from our editorial team.