This world is broken. It is fractured, cracked, overwhelmed by the ravaging effects of sin upon the cosmos.
Families are in shambles, divorce and pornography run rampant, violence and death, suffering and disease. Loved ones passing away after long battles with cancer, strife between friends, financial woes, prejudice, injustice, war, slavery. The list goes on and on.
Yet this is not the way the world has always been. There was a time before the effects of sin, a time when all of creation lived in perfect harmony. A time before suffering, death, disease, and pain.
Regardless of what you believe about the creation narrative in Genesis 1-2, it is clear to see that this world used to be in perfect harmony. Reading Genesis 1 leaves me aching and yearning for that day when God will restore all things. There is such a fluid rhythm of God’s creative acts and the refrain that ‘it was good’. Trying to picture a time of perfect peace is hard to do sometimes.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day. – Genesis 1:31
The world and everything in it was very good.
I like to imagine what perfect peace sounds like, what it feels like, what it looks like, etc. Images of being on the porch at my granddad’s house immediately flood my mind. There I would sit on the porch swing, listening to the birds call to each other, with the babbling of a forest brook in the distance with a little rain shower sweeping across the mountain.
You see, my granddad, who we affectionately called ‘Happy’ passed away less than a year ago. While I can’t imagine the pain that his spouse, siblings, and children went through when he passed, I definitely struggled and definitely still wade through seasons of deep sorrow and I miss him tremendously.
I would play and read and spend time on his porch for hours. Some of my favorite conversations and memories of him came from his porch. When I think perfect peace, I think of that porch.
Yet what happens when the place that is representative of perfect peace becomes instead a reminder of the effects of sin? What happens when Happy’s porch no longer brings the sense of peace to my soul but instead brings a painful reminder that he is no longer with us?
This is one way that the effects of sin have reared their ugly head in my life. You see, the story of the cosmos takes a turn for the worst real early on. Right after the creation of all things in perfect harmony, God makes Adam and Eve and puts them to work in the garden of Eden. Soon after, Satan comes and introduces temptation to Adam and Eve who unfortunately fall real quick. The perfection of the cosmos is shattered, and the consequences of sin are immediately imposed upon Adam and Eve and all that followed in their lineage (that is, all of us).
Yet in this bleak and dreary chapter 3, there is a promise. A promise that shines bright with gospel grace. A promise that comes flying onto the scene when it seemed all hope was lost.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. – Genesis 3:15
The Lord is cursing Satan, and makes a promise that there will be a descendant of Eve that will crush the head of Satan. Fast-forward several millennia and Jesus stepped onto the scene. He lived the perfect life you and I could not live and died the death we deserved. Three days later, he conquered death itself, crushing Satan, and making it possible for those who believe in Him to one day be with Him in paradise, in a perfect cosmos yet again.
The answer to my above question is to remember that God’s creation in the beginning was very good. The answer is to remember that God uses death, disease, suffering, and pain to bring about His glory. The answer is to remember that God is going to restore the cosmos into perfect harmony yet again. The answer is to remember the great news of the gospel. No more will we cry, be in pain, suffer, or face death. No more. Instead, as followers of Jesus, we will be in perfect harmony with God, enjoying eternal satisfaction in Him.
I loved those moments on the porch with Happy. I loved those moments of near-perfect peace.
But they pale in comparison to the wonderful perfection that is waiting for us in glory. Oh how I yearn for that day.
Brothers and sisters, if you are wading through suffering or pain, remember that this is not our home. Remember that this is for your good and His glory. Remember that there will be a day where the cosmos are totally restored.
This is good news. This is the gospel.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. – Revelation 21:4
In His Name,