The Final Jeopardy Answer is: Hospitals, tax codes, wars, abortion clinics, human traffickers, riots, abusers, cancer, malnutrition, bullying, sorrow, child neglect, heart disease, hospice care, coffins, diabetes, graves, grief, funeral homes, divorce, rape, addiction, arrogance, apathy, betrayal, adultery, armies, fear, depression, guilt, hatred, failure, sin, pain, and death.
The correct question: What are things that will no longer be with us in the new heavens and new earth?
The Bible has told us from Genesis 3 that we live in a world that is fallen, corrupted, mangled by human rebellion against God. While things are not as bad as they could be, all people everywhere have an innate understanding that things are not all that they should be.
What do we do with the discouragement that comes as we look at our messed up world. Perhaps it will do us good to remember just one promise of God.
Revelation 22:1-2 – 1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
As the apostle John came to the final vision he was given by the Lord Jesus, he saw a holy city situated in a new heavens and new earth. He saw a river of life flowing from the throne of God, a tree of life on the banks of that river, and the leaves of that tree used to purpose. What here is figurative and what is literal? Don’t ask that today. Instead, look at what God wants you to see: healing.
At the end, when all is said and done, when the Savior reigns with his people, there is healing. No more are the things that hurt us and ruin us present. No more is there any harm to fear. No more do we muddle through the hardships of life only wishing things could be made a little bit better. In the end, at the very end, and for all of eternity, there is healing.
God has promised that all who are under his grace are destined to be made whole. God will heal the universe. He will make all things new. Heaven and earth will be together, fresh, clean, pure, painless, sinless, glorious. God will be with us, right in our midst in a way that we can see. Life will continue. We will worship. We will be creative. We will work and laugh and play and sing and adventure and imagine and love and rest and grow and learn and travel and have all the best of joy. As C. S. Lewis put it, we will go “further up and further in,” always finding that the place to which we have arrived is larger on the inside than on the outside and never-ending with the glory and majesty of our God.
I cannot say what all things being made new will look like. I cannot imagine what food in heaven will taste like. I cannot guess what work and play will be like. But, I know this, God will heal. The leaves of the tree of life, however it works, will be for our healing. All pain will be gone. All wrong will be made right. All hurt will be healed. All the rottenness of this world will be replaced with freshness.
May we shape our lives in hope of the healing of the universe. May we value the eternity ahead of us more than the broken here and now. May we invite all people to join us in this future by coming to Jesus in faith and repentance to find his grace and mercy. .May we see that God will not let us down. May we realize that every hurt we face in this life is a reminder of the healing to come in the next. May we long for that day to come and say with the saints of all generations, “Come Lord Jesus!”