As a consequence of the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, death entered the human race as the Apostle Paul wrote later: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Ro. 5:12 cf Gen. 2:17). God also placed a curse upon the earth making it difficult to grow crops. All the birds and animals which had lived in harmony began preying upon one another. All of life changed and death and decay became the norm. Much of the beauty of God’s perfect creation could still be seen, but it was also marred as a result of sin and soon came the judgment of the world-wide flood which completely changed the topography and weather patterns.
Paul wrote of how all of creation is still groaning, awaiting the removal of the curse: “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pain of childbirth together until now” (Ro. 8:19-22).
The Old Testament prophets spoke of a future time when Christ returns to earth to rule for 1,000 years, a period we refer to as the Millennium, when the curse is removed and peace and harmony are restored. Isaiah writes: “And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.” (Isa. 2:4) Jerusalem will be the center of the earth in the kingdom age, the place where the Law and the Word of God will go forth, with the Messiah as ruling judge, resulting in universal peace. “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. And the cow and the bear will graze; and their young will lie down together; and the lion will eat straw like the ox. And the nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:6-9).
Every oncein a while God gives us little glimpses of life in the Kingdom with the curse of sin removed. A few years ago I was on the drive pad washing our car when I felt something nuzzling my hand. I turned to see a cute little whitetail deer fawn. We discovered later that its mom had been killed on the highway and a neighbor had bottle fed it. It hung around for several years, becoming a handsome big buck. In his first couple years he would let you pet him and scratch his head. But, he was still a “wild” animal and one day felt the “call of the wild” and was to be seen no more.
Yesterday Libby High School hosted an invitational tennis tournament. Since I still help out with our team, we were there to encourage our players. One venue, the old Racquet Club where we spent many, many hours as a family when our children were in high school, was also used for the tournament. As we were watching one of our player’s matches, here comes a wild Canada goose waddling by. It stopped in front of us and cocked its head to look at us as we “talked” to him/her. It wandered among the spectators and then would put its head under its wing and rest for awhile. At one point it stopped and took a sip from a cup of Sprite that was left sitting on the ground. It was probably expecting water so got pretty excited and tipped the cup over. The spectator went and filled it with water and the goose spent probably the next half hour just sitting by the cup, occasionally taking a sip and then resting. A few times it cackled some message which we couldn’t interpret! Maybe a “thank you for the drink!” At one point it even stood by the fence and would follow the ball as it went back and forth. It stayed the whole time we were there, entertaining the crowd!
And then, a special treat was the surprise of being reunited with a family that had attended Three Lakes Community Bible Church where I pastored. We hadn’t seen them in many years. There youngest son, a freshman, was playing a match against one of our Libby boys. It was so fun to see them and catch up. The Libby boy is new to our community and we had recently befriended his family who are believers and we had the opportunity to go for a walk with them between matches and had great fellowship.
We live in a world that has lost its moorings and is such a mess with wars, evil, and immorality. It is easy to get discouraged. It is so refreshing to have those moments which remind us that we have a glorious future awaiting. Praise God, He gives us those occasional glimpses of the glorious future that awaits us as believers, as we get to enjoy His Kingdom on earth and then on into eternity. Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Ro. 8:18).
Forever His (And looking forward to His return!)