The Promise of Restoration
In his essay “On Fairy Stories,” J.R.R. Tolkien writes about the reasons why people are drawn to fairy tales. Such stories are often at the opposite end of the emotional spectrum to our daily news: instead of war, financial volatility, pandemic, and heartbreak, fairy tales offer happy endings that reflect the longings of the human heart. Tolkien suggests that at the root of those longings is an ache for Christ to set the world right—to unite all things, restore all things, and make the world as absolutely, perfectly beautiful as it was before Adam’s rebellion. Don’t you yearn for God to fix it all? Don’t you long for the happy ending?
Laced all throughout Scripture, as through our lives, are reminders that we are not there yet. We live in a fallen world, fraught with alienation, frustration, and disintegration. The first Adam sinned, and death and chaos followed. But a second Adam came to undo what Adam had done and to accomplish what no one else could. God will fix it all. In fact, He has already begun to.
Throughout his letters to the first-century churches, Paul recognized their hardships and never downplayed them; but he also always reminded his readers that there would be a day “when sufferings cease and sorrows die,” and all our longings are satisfied. He encouraged them to keep their eyes on what was ultimate to help them deal with the immediate challenges.
What they needed then is what we need now. If you focus only on what you see right in front of you and neglect to allow God’s promise of restoration to enter your vision, you won’t actually be able to deal with the issues you face. They will grow out of perspective. They will come to dominate. They will drain you of hope and happiness. No—whether the problems are global, national, or personal, the best strategy is to keep your eyes on what God’s word says about God’s plan. There will be a happy ending. There will be a time when all things are united under a perfect King.
What is troubling you today? Bring an eternal perspective to the affairs of time, with the help of the Spirit, and you can find security in His perfect plan. You can’t yet know all the details of the story of this world, but you can know that for those who trust in Christ, the final scene is a happy, endless ending—and that it is no fairy story.
New Heavens and a New Earth
17“For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
18But be glad and rejoice forever
in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
and her people to be a gladness.
19I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress.
20No more shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
21They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy3 the work of their hands.
23They shall not labor in vain
or bear children for calamity,4
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
and their descendants with them.
24Before they call I will answer;
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
and dust shall be the serpent's food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.
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