It is a beautiful morning outside. I caught the edge of the sun as it started to rise, just tinting the sky with a band of pink and orange that blended into turquoise and then deeper shades of blue. The sun is still shining brightly and the sky is a sparkling blue. Anywhere else you’d probably be thinking “What a beautiful day to go outside.” In South Dakota, looks can be deceiving; the temperature is currently -8. I never thought that I’d live anywhere that temperatures were routinely in the negatives in the morning, but here I am. Still, it is a beautiful day for the last day of 2008.
This has been a year of big changes. Changes for me, as I wrote about previously, and changes for our nation and our world.
Whatever you may think of the results, we’ve just come through a historic election. Only time will tell if the choice was a good one, but history has been made.
The news is full of stories about economic chaos. Billions of dollars in bailouts, foreclosures of homes, families without jobs, the credit crisis. No one agrees on the solution and no one agrees when it will end.
Chaos overseas. Hamas and Israel firing rockets. Hundreds killed in the past few days by Ugandan rebels. 50% of Zimbabwe’s population in need of food aid, and deaths from cholera continue to soar. And the list goes on.
We hope for change, we wait for change. But year after year the suffering continues; natural disasters, man-made disasters, wars, starvation; the world continues on its broken spin around the sun.
It’s so easy to put our hope for change in ways the world marks change. In the passing of a year, in the changing of our leaders, in financial solutions, in pop psychology. But that belies that fact that suffering is part of existing, it is part of our broken world. It doesn’t mean we don’t work to change it, but it does mean that there will always be an endless supply of suffering. The world is broken and waiting for the change that only the return of the true King will bring.
And he will return, he’s promised it. In this is our hope for the coming year and all that come after it.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. Revelation 21:1-7 (NIV)