A few days ago I was down in Laguna Beach, which is one of my favorite places in the world. Just north of Main Beach, up on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific, is where I often go to linger with God. It's where I go to pray. It’s where I go to worship. For me, it's a divine sanctuary.
On this November afternoon it was warm and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The setting sun was leaving a trail of light glistening on the water, and the gentle swells were lapping up on the white sand. To my left was a string of sea gulls sunbathing along the rail of a fence. Out in front of me, past the palm trees, pelicans were diving for dinner, and off to my right a sequence of rugged rocky points were pressing into the sunset. It was picture perfect
And then the thought struck me…this piece of perfection is actually broken! As good as this…and it was good…it’s actually supposed to be better! Every element I was taking in was once purer. Everything—the land and sea, the birds of the air and the trees clinging to the hillsides—once existed in truer harmony with one another. Everything in this picture had been tainted by the consequences of human behavior, and if I had ears to hear, I might actually hear what the scriptures describe as “all of creation groaning and crying out as if in childbirth” for the day when things will be made right again.
We may not see the brokenness of creation in a place like Laguna Beach on a beautiful fall afternoon. But we do see it when fires race through our neighborhoods; when a hurricane pummels the Gulf Coast; when a cyclone devastates the Bangladeshi coast; or when an earthquake buries a village in Central America.
Even more, we see the brokenness of creation in our own lives. We see it in the pain we feel way too often. We see it whenever we stumble and fall. We see it every time we fail to be the people we want to be…the people we know we should be. Why am I so much like Paul when he wrote, “I do the very things I don’t want to do, and I don’t to the things I want to do!” Because that’s what broken people do.
Unfortunately brokenness doesn’t stop at our own skin. We experience it our relationships, in the judicial system, in the world's economy, and in our work. We know deep down in our souls that this is not the way it’s supposed to be. Not the way it was made to be. And it’s not the way it’ll always be!
The scriptures tell us that there will be a day when “all things will be made new!” There will be a day when the pains of childbirth will end, and we’ll live in a new and unbroken world. When all of creation will be back in sync with itself. A time when we’ll be fully at home in our uncompromised bodies, and we’ll live at peace in untainted relationships. There will be a time when life will be lived as it was meant to be lived.
Let these words breathed by the Spirit of God in Revelation 21:1-7 wash over you as we enter the holiday season:
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband."
"I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
"And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children."