All while I was reading this passage and N.T. Wright’s commentary, I kept thinking of Isaiah 52:7: “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!'” And this in turn made me think of a talk Len Sweet recently gave at Westwinds in which he referenced the real meaning behind the phrase “Good News.” He explained how following a battle a runner would be dispatched to go back to their town folk with news–either “Run for your lives! We lost and we are so screwed OR (the ever so much more popular) news “We won! Good news! We won!” As Len spoke I was choking back tears thinking of what that good news meant to the mothers with little babies and old people too feeble to run and to the righting men who knew they’d soon be returning home to their families instead of rubble and chaos. The sense of relief and joy and hope for the future must have washed over them in great waves. I need to remember God’s good news and let it instill me with hope and joy in the midst of the waiting.
The words in Revelation 14, as scary as they can be, are also very encouraging. God will put everything back in place, as only he can. He will mend broken hearts and polluted planets and unchecked injustice. I think he wants to use us here and now to get a head start on that job, not that he needs our help exactly, but it’s good training for us in the future when God ushers in his new order–one that is truly orderly.