Let me begin by telling you something you already know. Life is temporary and it is hard. Life is temporary because sooner or later it comes to an end and it is hard because every life is touched by sickness and tragedy at some point. There are no exceptions. It doesn’t matter who you are. Even wealth won’t buy you an easy life.
If you have been following the news you may have heard about a well-known TV presenter who was recently arrested on suspicion of drink driving and causing a collision. He is reportedly worth £60 million but his money couldn’t save him from a serious knee injury, severe depression, alcoholism, a painful divorce and this latest incident.
Life is hard for all of us. Not all of the time, but at times life is incredibly difficult. In fact, every time we watch the news we are reminded how far from perfect the world is. Every day there are reports of wars, acts of terrorism, school shootings, murders, abuse and social injustice.
If we look deep inside ourselves we know it is not supposed to be like this. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that the world is broken and we long for it to get better, don’t we? Why is it every life has to end with a funeral? Don’t you long for an end to all the suffering in the world?
I firmly believe that the reason we long for the world to be better than it is, is that we were made for a better world. The reason we long for a world where there is no more suffering and death is because the world isn’t supposed to be like this. C.S. Lewis, the author of the Narnia books, wrote:
“Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” (Mere Christianity)
This world is broken and we long for it to be better because we were made by God for a better world. The good news is that God has promised to fix this broken world. In Revelation chapter 21 God tells us what it is going to be like when his divine son Jesus Christ comes back:
“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea…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. 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, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)
The world is not supposed to be like it is today. It is not supposed to be filled with suffering and injustice. Life is not supposed to end in death. The good news is that God promises that when Jesus Christ comes back he will make this earth brand new and when he does he will live with his people forever, and from that point onwards life will be perfect. There will be no more death or mourning or crying. All pain, suffering, hardship and injustice will be gone for good. Which means we will never go to another funeral again! Won’t that be wonderful!
The Bible is clear that death is not the end and God proved it that first Easter. Jesus Christ died on a cross to pay the penalty for the sin of those that trust and follow him, but then he rose back to life to prove that there is life after death, and to prove his authority over the grave.
Jesus, speaking of his body said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:19). The good news of Easter is that he did raise himself back to life and because he did we can be sure he has the power to give us life after death too. One day, the risen and living Lord Jesus will return to fix this broken world and if we are trusting and following Jesus we will get to live with him forever in paradise.
Life is temporary and hard but there is great hope for those who trust and follow Jesus Christ. He holds the keys to life and death, and what happens beyond the grave. He proved that first Easter Sunday that he can give you a sure hope beyond the grave. The question is will you come to him and receive it, if you haven’t already?
Revd. Matt Williams
Vicar, St. Paul’s Church