But actually, eschatology does its most important work in the mess of everyday life, with its worries and fears, trials and struggles.
For the family stunned by a terminal diagnosis ...
For the one falsely accused and misunderstood ...
For the couple whose marriage is falling to pieces ...
For the addict who can't get free ...
For those whose loss is more than they can bear ...
For the one struggling to cope with mental illness ...
Eschatology is a lifeline.
There are a whole host of views about the end times, and each view has practical consequences. That's a topic for another day. The most important truth that all Christians hold in common is this: God wins in the end. Evil will be finally and decisively defeated. Truth will prevail. Hurts will be healed. Everything will be restored to its created design. In the words of the Old Testament, "each of us will sit under our own vine and our own fig tree, with no one to make us afraid" (cf. Micah 4:4). In other words, we'll be able to truly rest, to enjoy the fruits of our labor with no fear of what's to come.
For the family stunned by a terminal diagnosis ... it's ok to be angry. Cancer is not God's intention. And it's not the final word.
For the one falsely accused and misunderstood ... God will bring ultimate vindication.
For the couple whose marriage is falling to pieces ... He offers healing and full reconciliation.
For the addict who can't get free ... He will release the captive.
For those whose loss is more than they can bear ... there will be unbounded joy.
For the one struggling to cope with mental illness ... true peace, inside and out, is guaranteed.
Eschatology speaks to our brokenness, pain, and strife with the precious promise that this is not all there is. God is not finished yet with what he is doing. From our vantage point it may look like a losing battle, but he will prevail. We can bet our lives on it.
And as we cling to that truth -- that God will win in the end -- we find strength to face today.
"The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.
Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing." (Isaiah 51:3)
"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion,
'Your God reigns!' . . .
The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God." (Isaiah 52:7, 10)