From All Things New
Let me take you back now to the last cup of tea, Luke’s parting, and the ending of our family’s childhood era. It was the Saturday of his high school graduation. We had been through two others before and knew the ritual well. I believe in rituals; they are the last signposts left in a culture of impermanence. But as we sat in the bleachers, unable to stop the unfolding ceremony, watching Luke slowly approach the stage in cap and gown, I was on the brink of sobbing shamelessly. How is this not just loss? my heart cried to God. Tell me – how is everything not just loss? At that moment everything felt like loss.
Jesus replied immediately, Oh, John – nothing is lost.
Some of you may have experienced in a sermon or during personal Bible study, perhaps in a time of prayer or in a counselor’s office, the ability of Jesus to communicate an entire concept in a single moment. You have a revelation. The Creator of our mind and soul can give to us a sweeping understanding as if by transfusion. If I put into words the revelation given in that moment in the forty-second row at an ordinary high school commencement, Jesus showed me something like this:
When the kingdom comes, my dear, heartbroken friend, nothing that was precious to you in this life will be lost. No memory, no event, none of your story or theirs, nothing is lost. How could it be lost? It is all held safe in the heart of the infinite God, who encompasses all things. Held safe outside time in the treasuries of the kingdom, which transcends yet honors all time. This will all be given back to you at the Restoration, just as surely as your sons will come back to you. Nothing is lost.
The effect was nearly instantaneous. I went from a desolate parent saying good-bye – not just to our last child but to an entire era – to a beloved son who had just been given a sneak preview of the Christmas morning that will come upon all the Earth. I underwent a complete emotional transformation. All time had stopped in the moment before that moment; now I was completely fine. My body relaxed back into the chair like a man who had just set forth on a Caribbean cruise. I wanted to shout out, “You can carry on – I’m good now.”
Nothing is lost.
If you will just let go of your anger and cynicism for a moment, just allow it to be true for a moment, well then – your heart is going to take a pretty deep breath.
I dreamed of the kingdom again last night.
This time I saw horses, fifty or sixty at least, galloping through fields of tall grasses. The grace and freedom of the thundering stride was captivating. Behind them rose mountains, majestic, rugged, and snowcapped; it looked like the Patagonian steppe. But there was a freshness, a crispness to the scene, like the morning of creation.
I thought perhaps they were wild horses; then I saw riders among them.
Suddenly I, too, was among them, riding with them. We came to an embankment and stream crossing. Horse and rider amended their gait, and soon as we were over, took off again like the wind. It was a glorious game of sorts, a romp.
When I woke I thought, Surely I am making this up. I had breakfast and drove to work. There, on a city corner, where I have never seen such a sight in twenty years of living here, were riders on horseback. As if Jesus were saying, Now do you believe me?
Yes. I do.