It’s been disconcerting observing Christians who twelve months ago were critiquing the cultural norms as being impediments to Christian witness praying for those cultural norms to be restored in the context of current social disruptions.
While Christians don’t have to want things to be as bad as they can be, and things being as bad as they could be doesn’t mean more or less people will end up following Jesus; the lesson of the transitory and unreliable experiences of life point us to Jesus, rather than doubling down in the hope that God will bring the transitory and unreliable back.
Ecclesiastes reminds us that our joys and experiences are not meant to fulfil us; they cannot do that because they do not last. God has made beautiful things for us to enjoy, but God has also placed eternity in our hearts meaning that we were made with eternity desires, we were made to marvel at eternal beauty, we were made to seek eternal joy and we were made ultimately to find fulfilment in an eternal love. We were made for God.
So when the sadness comes because we cannot return to the happy place, it is a reminder that we are meant to lift our heads and look up. The temporary joy should point us to our future hope, a hope with our bridegroom Christ himself, with a banquet and feast where joy will overflow (Revelation 19:7), and this time the joy will last forever. The sadness grounds us, it reminds us that this world is not our home, so we should not get too comfortable “for here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14). There is a glorious future that Christ has made possible for us where there will be no death, sorrow, crying or pain (Revelation 21:1-5)
So the next time memory lane brings you bittersweet memories, remember the gospel, remember Jesus and remember the hope you have which stands the test of time, and lift your eyes beyond this world to the world to come, and maybe that will bring a smile to your face as you say: Come Lord Jesus!
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