“Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the LORD.
—Zechariah 2:10 (TNIV)
Yesterday we talked about the basis of our Christian joy. We saw that we have joy, in part, because of what God has already done for us in the Incarnation. Today I want to focus on the future basis of our joy. We can trust in the Promises of God because he has demonstrated his trustworthiness throughout human history, especially in the Incarnation. And while Christians believe that God has ultimately defeated evil and death on the cross, it is obvious that God’s victory is not yet fully consummated. That is why during Advent we anticipate our Lord’s Second Coming in power and glory to finish the work he started with his death and resurrection. When Jesus returns it will not be a happy time for those who do not believe and that surely makes the heart sad. But for those who do believe in Jesus’ promise to return again to finish his work, we can find joy, not because we are “better” than others, but because we know God’s promises are trustworthy and true, and we trust God to be gracious to us, despite the fact that we are broken and sinful people too.
At the Lord’s Second Coming, we believe heaven and earth will be fused into a New Creation and all the brokenness of God’s creation and creatures will be set aright. We believe that we will get new resurrection bodies, bodies that will no longer be subject to sickness, disease, deformity, infirmity, or death. We believe God will abolish evil and death, and wipe away our tears and sorrows forever. Best of all, we believe we will get to live directly in God’s Presence forever. As I think about the infirmity and suffering that have afflicted my loved ones, especially my parents, the New Testament’s vision of God’s New Creation brings me great joy because I look forward to being reunited with those whom I have loved and lost for a little while. I look forward to the time when we will get to live directly in God’s Presence. Our resurrection bodies will not be like our mortal ones and I will never again be heartbroken by watching my parents or any of my loved ones struggle with their failing bodies.
I can live with the joy of that promise. Can you?
Tomorrow: Joy continued.