Thursday, April 19, 2012
Lessons of Revelation: Oddly Practical
As my spring study on the book of Revelation comes to a close next week, I am a bit sad. It was a study I begun with hesitation, not really looking forward to studying such a heavy book of prophecy, specifically, prophecy about the end times. It just isn't one of those books that seems practical to my life in the here and now. But amazingly, I have actually gleaned much practical truth for my life today and how I live it right now by studying the book of Revelation. Revelation has painted a picture for me of what is to come: a perfect kingdom, a new heaven and a new earth, streets of gold, walls of rainbow-colored gems, a river of life that bears fruit year-round, and the very presence of our Lord who gives off so much radiance, there is no need for the sun or moon to illuminate the land. What a magnificent place this will be! A place where we will fully be able to use our gifts, our talents, our unique abilities that God has given us and use them in a way that is glorifying to God. There will be no more sin, no more tears, no more pain or suffering. Just joyful and satisfying worship of our Lord and Savior. Imagine! I'd heard all that before, but after studying it week after week, verse by verse, I began to be filled with HOPE. Hope of what is to come. Hope that this isn't all there is. Hope that we are in a temporary place, not our eternal home. Hope that one day, all our tears will be wiped away. What this means to me on a practical level is: why let the little things bother me so much? I can't quite say that about the big things yet. I mean, who could say to someone who had just lost a loved one, just think of what's waiting for us, don't be sad. It's not quite that easy. But for the little things...I can do this. Instead of getting frustrated about the messes my kids make, the fights over toys, the tantrums, the long lines at the grocery store, the solicitor that always rings the doorbell just as my kids have gone down for their nap, the traffic I'm stuck in with two screaming kids in the backseat...instead of working myself up over these little annoyances of life, I can remind myself that "this isn't all there is!" This is temporary! This isn't my home! This land is under a curse, but one day, we will live in a land where that curse has been lifted. So why work myself up over nothing? Aren't all these little annoyances just to refine my faith, my patience, and my character anyways? Preparing me to be more like Jesus each and every day. I can't say that I have this down...but each time I feel that irritation rising in my gut, I try to remind myself of my true home, a beautiful kingdom, waiting for me. And for a moment, it lifts my eyes up to Jesus and what He intends for us.