Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Yesterday I went for a run. I’m getting used to having to zigzag and sometimes hop over and around puddles and other stuff on the ground. It’s challenging, but definitely worth it to get out there and exercise –and see the beauty of the mountains, lush and green on all sides.

I thought back to the other mountains of the past year. The Blue Ridge near Harrisonburg, the Rockies in Colorado (where I went to mission training), the mountains and volcanoes near Antigua, Guatemala, and now here.
And then there were all those figurative mountains – saying my goodbyes, getting rid of my stuff, leaving my home, learning Spanish, beginning to adjust to a new country and culture… It’s been a pretty crazy year!

Yesterday I also finished the last chapters of Revelation (19-22). I love them! The crescendo as the beast and Satan are defeated, the Hallelujahs which break forth, the new heavens and new earth, the new Jerusalem, the restored Eden, where every tear will be wiped away. What a way to end the year!
This morning, I started again in Genesis. For two glorious chapters, everything is perfect. The Creator speaks life, and all is made. All is good. Eden is created and Adam and Eve live unashamed, able to enjoy perfect fellowship with each other and with God Almighty Himself.

And then, the Fall. Sin enters the world when humans decide that God is trying to keep them from the ‘good’stuff. When they decide they want to be gods themselves.
In that decision, not only are their two lives ruined, but all those who come after, even the perfect earth itself, become cursed. Having read the whole story, we know the terrible cost.

We see the fallout around us. This past year loved ones died way too soon, the earth shook and roiled, anger and hatred were everywhere, shalom shattered again and again.

After reading the end of the story yesterday, I almost didn’t want to start again. Or at least, go past Genesis 2! But, as a follower of Christ, I cannot live in the last chapters of Revelation and the first chapters of Genesis. I am called to live in the in-between. I am called to live like Jesus.
Jesus did not stay aloof in the perfection of Heaven, but chose to come and live in the brokenness. In His living and dying and living again He secured not just my life, but began the restoration of His Father’s Kingdom.

When Jesus taught us to pray, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven, He wasn’t just talking about the last few chapters of Revelation.

Instead of staying in those first and last chapters, we are called to move into the Fall. Not in our power, but in the power of the One who will restore perfect shalom, when nothing will be missing, nothing will be broken.

As so, we await the return of our Savior, but in His way. In the full armor of God, in the knowledge that the victory has been won, we stride out, refusing to accept the brokenness.
Here in the Valley, there are struggles and tears and strife. Satan has lost, but continues to fight, dangerous in His defeat. He has nothing to lose, and so is ruthless.
But, we’re not giving up! Instead, we gaze up at the vision of the new heavens and new earth, allowing that hope and assurance to sustain us. We are weak, but we cling to the One who is strong, and in the Holy Spirit’s power we go out past Genesis 2.

To all of you who have walked with me in the past year, I say thank you. Thank you for your willingness to enter the fray, through prayer, through encouraging me, through living your lives in ways which shout to the world that Satan does not have the victory. Thank you for having the courage to live in Genesis 3 and beyond. Thank you for continuing to point me to the Lamb.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and in Your coming, may You find us faithful!

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