Victor Hugo (author of Les Miserables) wrote these words which set me thinking in this season of Advent:
“For half a century I have been translating my thoughts into prose and verse: history, drama, philosophy, romance, tradition, satire, ode and song; all of these I have tried. But I feel I haven’t given utterance to the thousandth part of what lies within me. When I go to the grave I can say..’my day’s work is done’. But I cannot say, ‘my life is done’. My work will recommence the next morning. The tomb is not a blind alley; it is a thoroughfare. It closes upon the twilight, but opens upon the dawn.” So here’s the rub. Too many of us fail to think Christianly. It is so time for us to stop acting as if the new heavens and the new earth was a myth, an impossible dream. But, you see, every longing for romance is a longing for the ultimate relationship and romance with Christ. Every longing for health is a longing for the new earth. Every thirst for anything is a longing for Christ. Oh we can afford to be much more faith-filled and optimistic! All our pain, all our difficulties are but temporary setbacks. Knowing we are destined for a new heaven and a new earth won’t eliminate all the pain and the problems – but we will have perspective. If we grasp what God in his word promises then our centre of gravity will shift and our perspective on life will radically change. How can we possibly imagine that global warming, or ecological disaster, or nuclear explosions, or lack of water, or the sun’s rays microwaving us, or starvation, or war – how can we possibly believe that these shall have the last word? How can we possibly belong to that group of people who are desperately clinging on to this world, as if this is all there is? How can we so lose hope in the redemptive purposes of God which include seas and rivers, mountains and hills, sun and moon, stars of heaven, rain and dew, fire and ice, night and day, light and darkness, whales and all creatures that play in the deep, all creeping, all crawling, all flying things, all flowers and trees, all beasts and cattle AND AND all people on earth? How pathetically afraid we have become! How weakened by our panic! Oh, we are not to place our faith in circumstances, in statistics, or even in the opinions of experts – all of these cannot and will not last. Rather, let us place our hope, (our confident assured trust in the good promises of God) in the promise of Jesus Christ coming again to earth, and we shall be resurrected and we shall stand on the new earth and we shall enjoy all that God has prepared for us, and we shall see for ourselves all that God originally intended for his people, for his world, for the animals and birds and for all of his creation.