All Things New

A NEW EARTH: Our Restoration by John Eldredge

November 15, 2018

From All Things New He knew something about growing up in a motherless home, and about the hole it left in a boy’s heart.  He knew about the ceaseless drive to make oneself whole, and about the endless yearning. (Daniel Brown, The Boys in the Boat) I had a surprising emotional breakthrough the weekend my father died. Like for many people, my relationship with my dad was kind of a mixed bag.  My boyhood days were very precious.  My father loved the outdoors, and we did a lot of camping and fishing together; I have golden memories of those days.  But then the fall of man caught up with him: a series of lost jobs, followed by the drinking; then a stroke; then cancer; finally that brutal mocker, dementia.  He spent his last days in a [...]

A NEW EARTH: Welcoming The Promise by John Eldredge

November 8, 2018

From All Things New I am treasuring now every taste of the promise that comes my way.  I am seeking them out with new eyes, letting them broaden my kingdom imagination, fill these empty files with brilliant expectations. Years ago, while visiting friends in Kauai, we discovered one of those moments that overflows with the wonder and allure of the coming kingdom.  We had borrowed sea kayaks and come nightfall would paddle out in the dark, under the Pacific stars, out past the breakers into the rolling swells.  The surf hits the reef a few hundred yards out from shore, and there was only one gap through which you could pass somewhat safely out into open water.  And there we would sit, letting our pounding hearts calm, riding up and down [...]

A NEW EARTH: Playing In Creation by John Eldredge

November 1, 2018

From All Things New I will devote a coming chapter to what our “work” will be in the kingdom, for we are said to “reign on the Earth,” (Revelation 5:10).  Meanwhile, keeping in mind that it is our child-heart that receives the kingdom, let’s dream about what it will be like to play in the remade world! I am enchanted by the legends of ancient Polynesian cultures like the Maori and their tales of the “whale riders,” mighty lords of old who had a bond so deep with nature they were able to ride on the backs of whales like we ride a horse or camel.  Perhaps those legends are only mythic, but they speak of a wild and holy desire (there is the longing for the kingdom again).  Or perhaps those legends were actually prophecy.  We [...]

A NEW EARTH: Including The Animal Kingdom! by John Eldredge

October 26, 2018

From All Things New I was in my office this morning, knees bent and body doubled over, so that my forehead almost touched the ground.  I like that position as I pray.  I find it very centering, comforting; it is almost fetal, primal.  Suddenly a little furry muzzle and wet nose were pushing their way through my arm; our young golden had decided it was time to play.  The intrusion was so startling and winsome, familiar and disruptive, I thought to myself, What will it be like when a wolf pup does this?  Or a polar bear cub? For we will once again be lords of the Earth with all creation coming to hand joyfully, eagerly, without fear. The child-heart wants to know, “Will there be animals in Heaven?” and the calloused grown-up heart [...]

A NEW EARTH: Creation Is Restored by John Eldredge

October 18, 2018

From All Things New As a boy I loved all things new – a new book, a new bike, new cowboy boots; new lunch box, pocketknife, haircut, friend.  Most adults love the “newness” of something new – the smell of a new car, the carpet in a new house.  A new song, a new set of your favorite gear, new shoes (clearly Imelda’s love was the newness of those shoes; she only wore them once, if at all).  “New year, new you,” goes the marketing every January.  We all long for a fresh start in a new world. And you shall have it.  For God does not destroy the Earth nor his beloved creation; he makes everything brand spanking new.  Oh, the wonder of it! I was walking in a grove of aspens yesterday evening.  They are such beautiful, [...]

A NEW EARTH: The New Earth by John Eldredge

October 11, 2018

From All Things New He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river.  Never in his life had he seen a river before – this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free.  All was a-shake and a-shiver – glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble.  The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. (Kenneth, Grahame, The Wind in the Willows) I think I remember every tent I ever slept in.  My father owned an old WWII army surplus model; we would take it on fishing trips into the Kern River.  The musty [...]

A NEW EARTH: What If? by John Eldredge

October 4, 2018

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 NEW EARTH: Facing The Inevitable by John Eldredge

September 27, 2018

From All Things New A friend of mine, a gifted playwright, won an award for his script about a man dying of AIDS.  The protagonist is an endearing young artist who grows weaker and more frail through the course of the play.  Even so, he has a touching compulsion to take Polaroid shots of everyone and everything he cares about, looking at the images as they appear and tucking them away in his satchel.  It is a poignant obsession, of course, because he is dying, and no attempt to hang on to his world will prevent that.  We the audience experience a sad empathy for him: Poor fellow – he won’t be needing those.  And miss the point entirely.  We are he. You will say the last good-bye to your parents.  It is inevitable. God forbid you [...]

A NEW EARTH: Looking For The Kingdom by John Eldredge

September 20, 2018

From All Things New The north shore of Kauai is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and the pastures above the cliffs overlooking Anini Beach are some of the last open lands in that paradise.  From those verdant meadows you can look out on the whales and dolphins playing in the Pacific, watch the breakers roll in and crash over the reef below.  It is an enchanting place that casts an Eden-like spell on even the most cynical tourist.  A friend of ours has been advocating for the protection of those gorgeous meadows; he took us there last winter to see a view that may soon be available only to the very rich.  The pastures have already been marked out for small five-acre “ranchettes,” each plot going for several million; add to [...]

A NEW EARTH: Protecting Hope by John Eldredge

September 13, 2018

From All Things New I always felt it strange that God needed to command us to love him.  (It is the first and greatest of all the commandments.)  Now I see better.  When God calls us to love him as our “first love,” it is not only because he deserves to hold that place in our hearts, but also because he knows what pain will come when we get that out of order.  If you give the part of your soul that is meant for God to lesser things, they will break your heart because they cannot possibly come through for you in the ways God can.  Only he will never leave you or forsake you.  The command is a rescue from disaster. Many of you have begun to discover the joy and freedom loving God brings to the rest of your life.  Keeping God as [...]

A NEW EARTH: Let Us Be Honest by John Eldredge

September 6, 2018

From All Things New Our imagination so powerfully magnifies time, by continual reflections upon it, and so diminishes eternity for want of reflection, that we make a nothing of eternity and an eternity of nothing.  This is a dangerous game. (Blaise Pascal) Stasi and I raised three sons, three very boy-ish boys – every-puddle-must-be-jumped-in, every-tree-climbed boys.  If Tom Sawyer or the Lost Boys from Peter Pan had grown up in a real family, they might have been at our house.  Our home was filled with the whoops of an American Indian war dance or the fierce sounds of light sabers as young Jedi fought for the galaxy.  Come bedtime we had a ritual for years and years where I would lie on the floor of their shared room and tell them [...]

A NEW EARTH: All Creation Is Proclaiming by John Eldredge

August 30, 2018

From All Things New God has been declaring the promise of the Great Renewal faithfully, repeatedly, through nature since the dawn of time.  How have we missed it?  Creation is no accident; it is a proclamation.  A wild, bold declaration.  (This will rescue you from so many things; pay very close attention.)  Every spring and summer God plays out for us the day of the Great Restoration with wild, splashy boldness.  It meant more to me this year than ever before. The-year-I-wish-to-never-live-again also included nine months of chronic pain for Stasi, which ended in a total hip replacement (a brutal surgery I won’t describe here).  Following the surgery I spent two very long days in the hospital at her side.  Hospitals are [...]

A NEW EARTH: What Does Restoration Look Like? by John Eldredge

August 16, 2018

From All Things New Jesus Christ is the forerunner for the Great Renewal, “the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,” (Colossians 1:18).  He died, as everyone has and will.  But on the third day he was raised to life, leaving his grave clothes folded neatly in the tomb.  (A very touching detail, I might add, as if to say, “And that’s that,” like a man putting away his flannel pajamas now that winter is past.)  On Easter morning Jesus walked out of the grave radiantly alive, restored, and everyone recognized him.  The “new” Jesus is not someone or something else now; he is the Jesus they loved and knew.  He walked with them, had meals with them – just like before.  They most striking thing about the [...]

A NEW EARTH: Redemption, Not Destruction by John Eldredge

August 9, 2018

From All Things New Many people have the vague but ominous idea that God destroys the current reality and creates a new “Heavenly” one.  But that is not what scripture actually says. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.  Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse.  But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.  For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be [...]

A NEW EARTH: All Things New by John Eldredge

August 2, 2018

From All Things New When Jesus used the phrase “at the renewal of all things,” he did it casually, almost breezily.  You get the impression he assumed his listeners didn’t need an explanation or a long defense of the idea.  Jesus spoke as though he were simply drawing upon a story and theology his disciples would know quite well.  And indeed, these earnest Jews would have immediately found connection with many Old Testament stored in their hearts: Those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Isaiah 51:11)   “Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with [...]

A NEW EARTH: The Renewal Of All Things, Redux by John Eldredge

July 12, 2018

From All Things New Every man has two Battles to wage: In dreams he wrestles with God Awake, with the sea. (Antonio Machado, Proverbs and Song Verse) It was July when my youngest son and his new wife came to visit.  Stasi and I wanted to take them out for a special dinner, the kind newlyweds cannot afford themselves.  We booked an evening at the Broadmoor Hotel, a Forbes five-star resort you may have heard of.  Picture a gorgeous estate like you might find in France or Germany – verdant gardens, flowing fountains, architecture with an “Old World” feel, red tile roofs, arched turrets, and curving balconies. We had a lovely evening over a luscious dinner and rich conversation.  Olivia, our new daughter-in-law, said, “I’ve never [...]

A NEW EARTH: The Renewal Of All Things by John Eldredge

June 28, 2018

From All Things New Jesus Christ gave his life to give each of us a hope above and beyond all former hopes.  Every action and teaching of his brilliant life were very intentionally directed at unveiling this hope to us.  Late in the Gospel of Matthew he described it with breathtaking clarity: Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. (19:28-29) At the renewal of all things?!  God’s intention for us is the renewal of all things?  This is what the Son of God said; that is how he plainly described it.  [...]

A NEW EARTH: Is There A Hope That Really Overcomes All This? (Part Four) by John Eldredge

June 21, 2018

From All Things New The Answer to the Riddle of the Promise Optimism is not going to cut it.  Trying to look on the bright side isn’t going to sustain us through days like we are living in.  Given how critical hope is to our lives, the most urgent question has to be, “Where is the hope that can overcome all the heartache of this world?” “We all feel the riddle of the Earth,” wrote G. K. Chesterton.  “The mystery of life is the plainest part of it.  The clouds and curtains of darkness, the confounding vapors, these are the daily weather of this world.”  Thank you, Gilbert; I love it when someone says perfectly what we’ve always known to be true but never named for ourselves.  I think the mystery boils down to this: [...]

A NEW EARTH: Is There A Hope That Really Overcomes All This? (Part Three) by John Eldredge

June 14, 2018

From All Things New Looking For a Stronger Hope Scripture names hope as one of the Three Great Forces of human existence: Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love. (1 Corinthians 13:13) By saying they last forever, God names these three as immortal powers.  A life without faith has no meaning; a life without love isn’t worth living; a life without hope is a dark cavern from which you cannot escape.  These things aren’t simply “virtues.”  Faith, hope, and love are mighty forces meant to carry your life forward, upward; they are your wings and the strength to use them. I believe hope plays the critical role.  You’ll find it pretty hard to love when you’ve lost hope; hopelessness collapses into who cares?  And [...]

A NEW EARTH: Is There A Hope That Really Overcomes All This? (Part Two) by John Eldredge

June 7, 2018

From All Things New What Are We Looking Forward To? I keep checking my phone for email and texts. I do it all through the day; every alert gets my attention.  I’ve been doing it for some time now.  And the funny thing is, I’m not the kind of person who likes technology; I don’t want to feel tied to my phone by an emotional umbilical cord.  So what is this compulsion?  What am I looking for?  It’s as though I’m looking for something. And I’m not alone.  People check their devices something like 110 times a day – one-third of their waking hours.  What is this obsession?  I know we get a dopamine buzz when we receive a text, but something else is going on here.  After months and months of this obsession, I think I’m [...]

A NEW EARTH: Is There A Hope That Really Overcomes All This? by John Eldredge

May 31, 2018

From All Things New It takes no courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to have hope. (Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Celebrating Life) The sunrise this morning was filled with such promise. I was standing at the window in the early hours, praying, watching the dawn slowly bathe the hills in a golden light.  The forest was utterly still, almost timeless.  Each leaf was washed with a warm yellow glow, like candlelight; it covered the whole mountainside.  Something about the bright, gentle beauty illuminating an entire forest made me feel that everything is going to be okay. It is autumn now, and normally I’m not particularly happy about that.  I don’t usually like the coming of fall because I know the long winter will [...]

A NEW EARTH: A Breathtaking Promise by John Eldredge

May 23, 2018

From All Things New “We could sure use some hope right now.” I was chatting with a friend last week about the things going on in our lives and in the world, when she said this.  We were talking about our loss of a dear colleague, but also about how everyone we know seems to be facing some hard thing or other.  My friend is normally a very buoyant woman whatever the circumstance.  There was a pause in the conversation, and then she sighed and expressed her longing for some hope. Yes, hope would be very timely right about now. Though we are trying to put a bold face on things, the human race is not doing well at all.  Take any of our vital signs – you’ll see.  The rate of antidepressant use has gone through the ceiling in the [...]