I recently overheard a conversation that left me heavy-hearted. Nothing was said that I hadn’t heard before, but for some reason the words hit home this time.
It was a group of young professionals discussing marriage and children. You’ve probably heard these ideas before, but the basic sentiment was that they were never going to get married or have kids because the world is a bad place. “I don’t want what my parents had.” “All of my friends are divorced.” “Why would you bring someone into this world of hate, hurt, and disappointment?” “Isn’t the world overpopulated enough already?”
Most of us have thought along those lines at least at some point in our lives, but let me be clear. I wasn’t struck by the points in the conversation I wanted to debate, but by the amount of hurt in their words. Life has not been easy for them, to say the least.
In our recent sermon series we learned from Genesis that the world as we know it is both good and bad, blessed and cursed. In fact, one of God’s acts of compassion was to stop Adam & Eve from eating from the Tree of Life, which would have meant an eternity of dealing with the world’s brokenness. So, we can search for the fountain of youth, but we won’t find the Tree of Life anywhere. At least, not yet.
The story of Adam and Eve is in the very first chapters of the Bible. The final chapters of the Bible, Revelation 21-22, depict a coming reality. The vision is of a city coming to earth from heaven, and what is in the middle of the city? The Tree of Life. “And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse.” (Rev. 22:2-3)
I can imagine interrupting the conversation with the young professionals and arguing for how wonderful life is. I think they would have said, “That’s nice for you, but you don’t know what my life has been like.” And they’d be right. I do not think we can find lasting hope by simply focusing on the positives. I believe enduring hope is found only when you face the dark realities of our broken world, not just because they are true, but because they make us yearn for an answer, a reversal, a solution, a hope, a cross.
There is something else envisioned in the middle of that future city from heaven. It is the Lamb. The river that nourishes the Tree of Life flows from the Lamb and his throne. Jesus, the Lamb, is the source for the healing of the nations and the removal of the curse.
- Pastor Luke