Life with God in the Garden City
Open Your Bible
Isaiah 65:17-25, Revelation 2:7, Revelation 3:21, Revelation 21:1-4, Revelation 21:22, Revelation 22:1-5
One day, in the new heavens and new earth, God will dwell with His people as He did in the beginning.
We wash dishes by hand at our house. We are a big family, so it’s a bit of work, but after years of loading and unloading dishwashers only to find dirty dishes inside, it’s worth it for us. I have three sink basins, in the first I rinse, the second is filled with hot soapy water for washing, and the third has a special hot faucet for rinsing. Above the sink, mounted to the wall, are four big drying racks. Everything smells like lemon and optimism. Once my dishes are shiny and dripping on the metal racks, a child has usually brought in one last bowl and spoon. After that, someone finds a stray coffee cup, and before my dishes have dried, the first sink is full again with ladles, milk glasses, and unnecessary straws.
Our work is never done on this side of heaven. The dishes will never be done. Life is better when I don’t expect a full stop from things that do not stop. The garden does not stay weeded. The beds need to be made every morning. It’s the same regardless of your station in life, the color of your skin, or the size of your bank account. Wealth does not bring happiness. Look at King Solomon in Ecclesiastes, who had limitless wealth, massive power, hundreds of women, and access to any imaginable pleasure the world had to offer. And yet his conclusion, after wearing out every fleshly gratification he could think of, was that it’s all vanity, all just wind and nothing. “All things are wearisome, more than anyone can say” (Ecclesiastes 1:8). And if that guy, with all his resources, found that our hope is not found under the sun, do you think that you’re going to discover something different?
Now, don’t misunderstand me, the fresh glory of a sunrise over mountains and the squishy skin of a new baby and the arms of my husband all hold a true and inexpressible joy for me. The beauty of the world and its people is for our joy. But none of it will satisfy our deepest longings. None of it will make us complete. In the world, no matter how much we love the smell of lemon, there will always be dishes to wash, and our favorite ones will continue to break, and our dogs will die, and our houses will burn, and we will bury everyone we love until they bury us.
But there is a land where there is no death, no sickness, no depravity, and no shame. And, boy, I hope we will see our pets, because there’s a good girl I sure wish I could see again. We will lay down our tools and run home, into the arms of our Father. He has promised us this: “Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God” (Revelation 21:3).
One day, in the new heaven and new earth, God will dwell with His people as He did in the beginning. We were created for life in our holy God’s presence. Our sin keeps us from coming close to Him. But He comes to us and brings us home. There we find our settled rest, not like guests or strangers, but like a child who is truly home (Psalm 23).