As I write this brief entry the death toll in the recent Tornado blast that ripped through the suburbs of Oklahoma City has climbed to 91 people, 20 of whom were children. Even here, in the relatively quiet town of Bellingham, Washington, the grief of the families ravaged by this event is palpable. The pictures are heart-wrenching and the testimonies of survivors takes your legs out from under you. Words don’t come easy, mostly sighs.
In the wake of such disaster my heart, perhaps like yours, has run to a glorious — and incredibly practical — future promise. In the face of unspeakable tragedy like the Tornado in Oklahoma, I’m reminded that God has spoken. And he’s promised to one day make all things new. What we have hints and foretastes of today, he will bring to consummation. The apostle John pulls back the veil, if you will, and tells us a bit of what that Day will include — and what it won’t:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Rev. 21:1-5).
O, how I long for his appearing! There is coming a Day when tornados and grief and sorrow and death will be no more. Tears wiped away and mourning turned to joy for God’s people. Yes, all things new!
The One who sits on the throne says, “Surely I am coming soon” (Rev. 22:20). And so I plead, even through tears, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
[Update: As of May 23 the death toll has been revised down to 24 people, including nine children.]