Paradise Lost, Paradise Restored

Opening Prayer: 

God, help me to worship you as the creator of all things and the healer of all wounds.

 

Read: Revelation 22:1-2 (NIV)

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”

 

Reflect: 

One word that comes to mind when I read these verses is “beauty”. A river ‘as clear as crystal’ and trees bearing ‘twelve crops’. I have seen some pretty clear lakes in Colorado nestled among the mountains and what a beautiful sight they are. Likewise, I have always been fascinated by trees, whether it be a large forest or one of those awesome driveways lined with trees that grow over the road. Notice in the passage that all this beauty begins with the throne of God. The river flows from the throne of God and ultimately the river provides nourishment to the trees on either bank which bear their fruit every month and whose leaves can heal the nations.  Have you ever stopped to consider that all that we find beautiful, whether an act of kindness or a physical object, ultimately comes from God’s character or his creativity? It is ultimately God that human beings are seeking when they pursue beauty. Those who find God have, as their ultimate hope, both personal healing and healing for the world.

 

Apply: 

 

It is so easy for us to misuse beauty. Worshipping the creation rather than the creator has been a struggle since the dawn of humanity. After all, creation is tangible and easily accessible, whereas God is intangible and though accessible, requires a little more effort on our part to access.  One way to overcome this temptation to worship the creation rather than the creator is to allow beauty to draw our hearts and minds toward God. We often have a subconscious disconnect between God and creation as if God wasn’t responsible for the created order but just kind of watches over it. When we come to grips with the fact that God is the root of all things beautiful we will continue to grow in our amazement of how awesome God is and how good he is. It’s our job as Christians to model in both words and deeds the beauty of our God, a beauty that offers lasting healing for the world.

 

 

 

 

Closing Prayer: 

Help me to be reminded of you in my day to day life. May I never forget the creator behind the creation, the only one who can bring lasting satisfaction and healing to the human heart.

 

Terry Schneider