Dr. Debi Newman was ordained as a deacon in our church yesterday–and she gave the sermon on the book of Revelation.
She offered the following post today on her own blog, It’s Tea Time for Your Soul. We thought you’d appreciate reading it, too. Here’s Debi’s post:
I am not a preacher, but I asked to give the sermon on Revelation because I have moved from avoiding this book for half my life to now reading it phrase by phrase over the last three years. I am coming to the end of the book and I already feel sad because I know that I will miss its focus.
God means it when He tells us that he is slow to anger. Revelation is a book we often avoid because the wrath of God is finally poured out on the earth and it is a cringe-worthy human experience to accept. But it is the only way to rid the earth of evil and those who refuse to choose salvation through Christ. It is the only way to rid the earth of the sin that is so pervasive.
I honestly appreciated the words of Revelation after the day I had last Friday. I’ve just joined a ministry that brings groceries to people in need and this was my second time visiting the same group of people. At our first stop I found out that a baby we knew was extremely sick with cancer had died in between our visits. His aunt gave the sad news and I hugged his mother and prayed for her but that was all I could do. The good news at this first group of neighbors was the woman crippled by arthritis who could not even get out of bed, yet smiled and cried when we prayed over her had great relief on this visit. She was sitting up and greeting us with gratitude and smiles.
As we drove to the next group of neighbors, I remembered the lady from the next house, she is so full of joy. She likes my husband a lot, I think she thinks he is handsome, and she loves to get a hug and smile at him though she is a great grandmother. We all have fun with this. What I did not learn on the first visit is that she is the grandmother to a young man with cerebral palsy. I brought the groceries to his mom who looked tired and too thin as she cared for her son in her grandmother’s home. I couldn’t get the history of his condition, but he was certainly cared for although he was completely crippled by the disease and only able to suck his hand for comfort and groan—whether talking or expressing pain, it was not clear. I came close to him and prayed for him, I brushed away the flies that liked to be around him.
Although his grandmother is a woman of great faith, and his mother is a woman of great love, it is clear that neither of them can take away his pain and suffering here on earth. When I visit homes in these neighborhoods, I always listen to stories of sickness and death. The hardships are daily and the groceries help a little while the hugs and prayers are a touch of heaven for just a moment.
My great hope is Revelation. Revelation 21:3-5 says:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
I can’t imagine the suffering that living life has been for this young man. I could see the weariness of caring for a child who suffers so much as well as needs so much from his mother. There was little trace of the suffering I believe this grandmother feels inside, but somehow she is able to rise above her pain and truly live in the present moment of receiving guests who have come by her home to bring groceries and the love of God. I long for the day when this young man and his family meet Jesus, have their tears wiped away and live in a earth that has been made new. Until that day, I will continue to bring groceries, pray and give hugs because that is also part of God’s instruction of how to live on this earth until He comes.