11 June 2021
It was a near-perfect day. It was the first day of the cricket test match between England and New Zealand in Birmingham this week. And I was there. Okay, I know some of you will be struggling to put the words “cricket match” and “near-perfect” together, but bear with me. Or imagine your own version of a near-perfect day.
There I was, watching live international cricket. The weather was perfect: not too cold, not too hot, not too windy, and no rain. We had a sumptuous picnic, with drinks and snacks to keep us going through the day, not too little, not too much. And I was enjoying it all with some of the people I love most in this world.
So what made it only near-perfect, and not totally perfect? Well, England could have batted a whole lot better. And I didn’t have with me all the people I love most, only some of them. And of course I would return home to all the same issues I had left behind that morning.
Apart from that, it was about as good as it gets. As we walked home through the park, in the warm evening sunshine, tired and content, I found myself thinking, “I don’t want this to end.” Have you had a day like that? Or can you at least imagine one?
Let us be grateful for such days. They are generous blessings from a loving heavenly Father. But they are just a foretaste of the new creation, which will be totally perfect and not only near-perfect, and will never end. Such days should make us long for the day when “the old order of things has passed away” and there is “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” and it is for ever (Revelation 21:4).
In his book Eternity Changes Everything, Stephen Witmer encourages us to live our lives now in the light of eternity to come. He writes, “All the good things I have are just glimmers of where I’m heading. If I’m experiencing this kind of beauty in a fallen world, what pleasures will there be in the new creation that Jesus died to open up to me and will return to bring to me?”
So I find myself wanting to be genuinely thankful to God for the good things I enjoy on such near-perfect days, while also wanting to look beyond them and through them to that perfect day which will never end, – to see the never-perishing, never-spoiling, never-fading inheritance that he has ready for me and all who love him.
Lord, thank you for such blessings even in this broken world. Thank you even more for the blessings to come in a world remade, which Jesus died to open to us and will return to bring us. Amen.
Chris Hobbs, Senior Minister