The Comforting Revelation
I woke up early this morning, even earlier than my alarm. It may have been the lashing wind, driving the rain against the windows all night, but I think the handful of troubles on my heart were the larger reason. I woke with a genuine need for comfort. But the appointed reading was Revelation 7-9.
There are a lot of adjectives that might be used to describe the John’s Revelation, but ‘comforting’ wouldn’t make most people’s top ten. If it came up on an episode of Family Feud, I think the most popular answers would include frightening, disturbing and confusing. I admit I have felt all of those things in my readings of the last book of the Bible.
However, this morning, I found myself greatly comforted by God’s Revelation. Yes, there was still plenty of confusion. The sealing of the 144,000, the star called Wormwood and the angel named Apollyon are head scratchers for sure. As for disturbing, it’s hard to beat the locust/scorpion/horse creatures with human faces and the power to give a sting that makes people wish they could die. And frightening? Try six trumpets of cosmic judgment and worldwide destruction.
But all of this was part of God’s gift of comfort to me. I’m not just trying to do the pastor thing here. God really helped me. I was comforted as God reminded me that evil will not endure forever. It was reassuring to see God responding to evil with a holy justice far beyond anything my little angst. It was actually a relief, in a way, to remember that despite the increasingly painful consequences of sin, many people will refuse to repent. I grieve that reality, but it helps prepare my heart for that sadness.
Best of all were the words about those who persevered through the times of great trouble, whose robes were washed white in the blood of the Lamb. God promises to one day spread his tent over them; eternal protection from all hunger, thirst and scorching heat. The Lamb himself will be our shepherd, leading us to springs of living water and wiping every tear from our eyes.
My heart is renewed and I can go forward with a good heart. Hey, even the rain stopped.