Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea existed no longer. I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: “Look! God’s dwelling is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will exist no longer; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.” Then the One seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making everything new.” Revelation 21:1-5
A new heaven and a new earth. I could never get my mind wrapped around that concept until I read C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle. It is a parable of the book of Revelation, and it caps his Narnia series, which I relish. In all the other Narnia books, children leave England for adventures in Narnia, but in the end, they must go back to England again. Not in The Last Battle. Finally, the children get to stay – in the new Narnia.
C.S. Lewis writes: “And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
The first time I read those words, I wept, because they put this broken world into perspective. This life, with all its pain and disappointment, this 70-some-odd years a typical person spends on earth – it’s only the cover and the title page. The real story will begin when God flips it to the left. The new heaven and the new earth (and a new me) begin Chapter 1 of the true adventure we will live with God.
I am unspeakably thankful that the new story will not contain death, grief, crying and pain. For all of eternity.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.