“ In keeping with that promise
we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth,
the home of righteousness”
2 Peter 3:13
If a pianist sits at a piano and plays out five notes of a familiar song and then stops abruptly, it is highly likely that those sitting around her will finish the notes in their heads. Try singing just the first four beats of "Jesus loves me" without hearing the finishing three beats of that opening line (this I know). It is difficult, if not impossible, for most of us.
We humans are a bundle of song beats in search of an ending. We’re a story in search of a conclusion. We’re a narrative reaching out towards the end.
This fact was brought home to me after I preached the message this past Sunday. I told a story about how my brother’s dog, Rocky, got lost and, after some twenty hours, was found. But I failed to share just how the dog was found. I failed to sing the last three beats and round off the song. And some of you noticed.
(For those of you who asked: Rocky ended up coming home all by himself. After scouring half of Surrey, during the morning hours, Rocky found his way home from what we believe was a night underneath the powerlines hidden in the bushes: hence all the burrs tangled in his fur. My brother Greg glanced out his back window and there was Rocky sitting like nothing ever happened in the backyard! All our searching and God brought him home! Sounds like a Calvinist story . . . :) )
I had a conversation with someone in our church yesterday who has been suffering a lot lately. Covid has been very difficult. Family issues have redoubled those difficulties. Loneliness has also been a constant companion. We were sharing the difficulty that our prayers often go unanswered, and that we don’t know why. Prayers for healing. Prayers for faith. Prayers for loved ones’ needs. And it leaves us asking why.
Sometimes the only answer that can be given and the only hope that can be clung to in faith in light of life’s deep mysteries and disappointments is that the story is not yet over. We find ourselves in medias res (in the midst of things).
God will heal our wounds, just not yet. God will make all things new, just not yet. This is the promise of Scripture. An entirely renewed heavens and earth is the final chapter, and then a whole new book will be started.
Sometimes we want the end to be here, we want the final chapter of the story already to be written and read aloud. Scripture tells us how the story will end. It will end well—exceedingly, unimaginably well.
Perhaps there are only yet three notes to be played in fallen human history? Maybe only two or one? Who knows. Until then, we may pray with joy and yearning, Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus, Come!