16th October 2014

Awaiting the Unusual

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.’”
Revelation 21:3 (NIV)

Early one morning, I witnessed 2 events that made me pause to think.

While watering the garden, I first heard the sound of a horse walking on the road. This took me by surprise; there is only one way in and out of our small housing estate. So, a horse appearing outside my house would be unusual. But there they were – horse and rider taking their opportunity to look around.

Quite soon afterwards, I heard a combination of sounds that I’m much more familiar with: a car door slamming followed by the sound of loud arguing. I carried on watering the garden unfazed by this interruption of the peace. After all, that’s life.

And then it dawned on me. I had found the first peaceful event strange and unusual. The second one was loud and angry, but quite normal. “Shouldn’t this be the other way round?” I pondered. We experience so many negative events—outbursts of anger, jealousy, swearing and vulgarity—that it has become commonplace. We put it into our TV shows, books and dramas to make them ‘more’ normal. In some cities around the world, some acts of violence are so common that they too become routine.

In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John expresses a vision that cuts right to the heart of all our desires: a time when we can rightfully declare that “the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). The negative and violent events that pervade today’s world will become history, even ancient history. Imagine that. A point in the future when it will be difficult for me to remember what it sounds like to hear a car door slam and two people bitterly argue.

“They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). This will all seem very strange to begin with. But this will become the new normal.

How wonderful! And strangely, I now look forward to the next time something unusual takes place, like a horse walking past my house, as it will remind me that yes, God has a new world stored up for us all. A place where the tired old rules of today will no longer have a hold over our lives.

Dear Father, thank you for the New Heavens and Earth that we wait for with baited breath. Guide us to live in the fullness of life that will pervade that time, knowing that all things will be made new. In Jesus, our Lord, we pray.

Study by Ian Woodley


ianwoodleyAbout the Author:
Ian Woodley pastors the Nottingham Grace Communion Church, that meets at 2pm Saturday, as below.  Ian also facilitates a monthly Bible Study in Lincoln, which generally meets on a Saturday at 1:30pm.  They welcome visitors to join them—for more details contact Ian Woodley as below.

Local Congregation:
Nottingham Grace Communion
Lucy Brown Hall
Attenborough Lane

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Ian Woodley
Email:  icgwoodley@gmail.com