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There's no point in Christians pretending that they aren't looking for a happy ending to present human history. It doesn't matter a whit to us that this doesn't suit the hard-bitten realists and critics—what do they know more than Jesus? Sometimes critics speak of us as if we don't really know what's going on in the world and that they alone are the courageous wrestlers with the harsh realities; makes me feel sometimes like telling them, "For pity's sake grow up!"
Bless me; we look for a "happy ending" precisely because we aren't satisfied with things as they are! For non-belief there can be no happy ending because what the young Bertrand Russell said about non-belief is true whether atheists like it or not—there is no future for the human race; up ahead there's just one vast universal and eternal death! And in the meantime the human race is a hamster filling its jaws with food and jumping on its wheel, running as if it were going somewhere. Every now and then perhaps on a whim it runs even faster or perhaps on the assumption that if it runs faster somehow that'll make a difference to where its going.
Christians—right or wrong—believe in a happy ending because they believe in Jesus Christ. They believe the end of this present phase of human history is not a universal freeze in universal darkness and the end of all living; they believe it is the end of death and the beginning of real life and peace and righteousness! They believe what John Lennon longed for in his poignant song Imagine but they believe it will be brought about not by the unaided power of people like John and us, but by God, in and as Jesus along with all those who are embraced in his redeeming work.
Jesus is coming again! And those who are in him keep that truth before the world in their scriptures, their ordinances, their liturgy and their lives. They don't like things as they are in the world and they offer various explanations—some better than others—as to why things are as they are right now; but they know Jesus is coming again and all wrongs will be righted, death will be abolished and the Jesus-imaging righteousness that we see now, however fitful and feeble it is at times, will be brought to fullness and it will flourish in a world of peace and joy.
In marvellous passages like Romans 8:18-21 Paul personifies the creation as OT prophets and psalmists often do. Sections like this make it clear that the creation simply aches with the longing to produce harvests and orchards and to bless its living companions to the glory and pleasure of God. It is like a pregnant woman, eager and anxious to bring forth life and blessing and reason for rejoicing and in the meantime it is burdened with potential unfulfilled and harvests never produced and never gathered. One of these days (in the imagery of Isaiah 62:4-5), the human family will marry the land and one of these days (as in Ezekiel 36 God promised the land) there will be fruitfulness everywhere, Eden will be more than restored. You've seen the programmes that tell of Nature's fury and destructive power; of it's vomiting out its people and such like—no more of that! That reputation as a "devourer of your people" (Ezekiel 36:6, 13-15) will be taken away.
This is the Story God tells and it comes to its finale in Jesus!
In the meantime every little happy ending, every isolated event that makes us smile with happy surprise—these are "prophecies" and reminders of the final happy ending. Every little sprout poking its head up into the light from under tons of driveway asphalt is a promise. Click here.