7 May 2021
One of the features of lockdown has been that every day feels the same, and every week the same as the one before. With most of us working from home, schools closed, and socialising and travelling restricted, life became monotonous. Much of the natural variety of life disappeared. No doubt there are some who welcome the security this brings. Perhaps you are among them? But I expect most of us miss the variety.
What I have been wondering is: Why is that a problem? Why do we struggle with the monotony? I think it is because God created a world with enormous variety, and we miss that variety. Genesis chapter 1 tells us that God made not just plants and trees but “seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” Even the size, shape, colour and texture of the leaves of the trees is different, not to mention the bark.
Then there is the list of animals God presents Job with in chapter 39: the mountain goats, the doe, the wild donkey, the wild ox, the ostrich, the horse, the hawk, the eagle. It’s quite a collection. Enough to keep David Attenborough busy for years! And we must not forget the immense variety among human beings: different body shape, height and weight, skin colour, hair colour, not to mention ability and character.
Being made in the image of this creative God, it is hardly surprising that we human beings enjoy variety too. Which of us wears the same clothes every day, or eats the same meal, or listens to the same song, or goes for exactly the same walk? We may have old favourites we return to again and again, but we also enjoy the variety.
Some people are afraid that they will find heaven boring. But, if heaven is all about being with God, and he is the God who created such enormous variety in this world for us to enjoy, surely we can be confident that his new world will be even better?
The variety is enormous, but it is not endless. There is no unicorn or centaur or phoenix. Sorry. There is a limit to the variety. That is because the variety comes from the God who created it. Creation is as varied as God made it, but not more. We come back to letting God define reality. We can enjoy everything good that God has given us. And we should be content with what he has given us. As Paul reminds Timothy, “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:4).
Father, we thank you for creating an enormously varied world for us to enjoy, and we thank you that the new heaven and the new earth will be even better and more enjoyable. Amen.
Chris Hobbs, Senior Minister